On October 13, 1775, the Continental Congress authorized the “fitting out” of the first two armed vessels of the Continental Navy with 80 men in response to the start of the American Revolutionary War which began with a show of ground force earlier in the year. The Continental Navy was the predecessor to the United States Navy we know today.
The United States navy is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States and is its naval warfare branch. The US Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. As of January 2011 over 328,516 personnel were serving on active duty with 101,689 in the Navy Reserve. Altogether these men and women in uniform help to operate 286 ships in active service and more than 3,700 aircraft.