Mission of the Navy

Like the Army, the Navy was officially established by the Continental Congress in 1775. The Navy's primary mission is to maintain the freedom of the seas. The Navy makes it possible for the United States to use the seas where and when our national interests require it. In addition, in times of conflict, the Navy helps to supplement Air Force air power. Navy aircraft carriers can often deploy to areas where fixed runways are impossible. An aircraft carrier usually carries about 80 aircraft. Most of these are fighters or fighter-bombers. Additionally, Navy ships can attack land targets from miles away (with very heavy guns), and cruise missiles. Navy submarines (fast attack and ballistic missile subs) allow stealth attacks on our enemies from right off their shores. The Navy is also primarily responsible for transporting Marines to areas of conflict. The active duty Navy has about 54,000 officers, and 324,000 enlisted personnel. The Navy is supported in times of need by the Naval Reserves. However, unlike the Army and Air Force, there is no Naval National Guard (although a few states have established "Naval Militias.">
Fast Facts:

• The U.S. Navy has more than 381,000 sailors on active duty, including more than 53,000 officers and 323,000 enlisted sailors. 
• The Navy has more than 158,000 personnel on ready reserve.
• The U.S. Navy boasts more than 300 ships and more than 4,000 operational aircraft.
• A naval "Air Wing" will normally consists of one fighter squadron, three strike fighter squadrons, an Airborne Early Warning squadron, an Air Reconnaissance Squadron, an Air anti-submarine Squadron, a Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron and an Electronic Warfare Squadron.


• Secretary of the Navy: The civilian head of the Navy, the secretary is appointed by the president with Senate approval and is responsible for recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training and mobilizing naval forces.
• Chief of Naval Operations: The CNO is the senior military officer of the United States Navy and is a four-star admiral. A member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he is responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for the command of naval forces and is the principal naval adviser to the president.

Basic Naval Vessels

• Aircraft Carrier: These are the largest combatant ships in the Navy, measuring in at 1,000 feet in length and displace between 70,000 and 90,000 tons. They carry approximately 85 aircraft of mixed fighters, bombers and support, and are the primary offensive punch of the Navy.
• Amphibious Transport: These ships are used to transport and land Marines, equipment and supplies by embarked landing craft or amphibious vehicles. With a crew of 490 (24 officers, 466 enlisted men), they have helicopters to assist in amphibious assaults and usually carry a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
• Tank Landing Ship: The vessels can transport 29 tanks and more than 350 troops and their equipment to combat areas. They can also be used to launch amphibious vehicles from a stern gate, as well as land vehicles to a beach or causeway over a bow ramp.
• Amphibious Assault Ships: These ships, which carry a Marine Expeditionary Unit of approximately 1,800 men, are designed to support assaults from sea against defended positions on shore. They come in two classes -- Wasp and Tarawa -- and can carry 42 troop-carrying helicopters
• Guided Missile Cruisers: These ships range in size from 9,000 to 11,000 tons and 600 feet in length, with a crew of approximately 35 officers and 550 men. Capable of sustained combat operations in any combination of Anti-Air, Anti-Submarine, Anti-Surface and Strike warfare environments, their primary armament is the long range surface-to-surface Tomahawk Cruise Missile and the Standard Surface-to-Air Missile.
• Guided Missile Destroyers: These ships provide defensive support for Carrier Battle Groups, as well as Surface Action, Amphibious and Replenishment Groups. There are currently three classes of destroyers in service -- Arleigh Burke, Kidd and Spruance classes.
• Frigates: Smaller than a destroyer and designed as cost-efficient surface combatants, they lack the multi-mission capability necessary for modern surface combatants faced with multiple, high-technology threats. Still, despite their size, it is a robust vessel capable of withstanding considerable damage.
• Amphibious Command Ships: Equipped with a variety of air and surface radar, these ships provide communications for senior commanders and their staff while engaged in fleet operations. There are two classes -- Blue Ridge and LaSalle/Coronado Class.
• Mine Warfare/Countermeasure Ships: With a crew of eight officers and 76 enlisted men, these ships are designed to detect mines and clear them from vital waterways.
• Fleet Ballistic Missile Submarines: These nuclear-powered submarines are armed with long-range strategic missiles or ICBMs. With a crew of 15 officers and 140 enlisted men, these Ohio class submarines are designed to operate for 15+ years and they provide for the nation's most survivable and enduring nuclear strike capability.
• Attack Submarines (SSN): These are designed to seek and destroy enemy submarines and surface ships. Other missions range from intelligence collection and special operation troops delivery to anti-ship and land strike warfare. They also carry Tomahawk cruise missiles. 

Naval Ranks

• Admiral    
• Vice-Admiral
• Rear-Admiral
• Captain 
• Commander
• Lieutenant Commander 
• Lieutenant   
• Lieutenant, Junior Grade 
• Ensign