The U.S. Navy was founded under the authority of George Washington in 1775, with the intent to intercept British supply ships near Massachusetts. Despite success in battle during the American Revolution, a standing Navy was considered too large an expense for more than a decade. But, in 1794, pirate attacks on trade routes and increasing international conflicts cemented the importance of a strong Navy. Thus began the force that, to this day, protects U.S. interests at home and abroad.
Currently comprised of more than 324,308 personnel, today's Navy is equipped to handle operations both on and under the sea, in the air and on the ground. Its reach is worldwide, spanning 100 international ports and touching the farthest corners of the open ocean. Elite groups within the Navy, such as the SEALs and Navy Divers, receive specialized training for advanced warfare situations. A Navy Sailor generally serves a term of four years aboard one of the Navy's 285 deployable ships, though options for shorter time commitments exist.
Before Serving in the Navy
Before Serving in the Navy
To join the U.S. Navy, you must be between 18 and 34 years old (or 17 with parental consent). A high school diploma is preferred, but a high school equivalent such as the GED may also be accepted. All Navy recruits must take the ASVAB test to determine placement within the Service. Interested college students are encouraged to investigate the Navy ROTC program.
Navy training begins with seven to nine weeks of Boot Camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. Rigorous physical and classroom exercises transform civilians into Sailors and prepare them for their first tour of duty.
Yes, the Navy provides a regular salary, health care and occupational training to all its members, plus additional pay for eligible specialists, such as aviators, divers and submariners. But the benefits don't stop there. From educational support, to 30 days' vacation, to extensive travel in exotic places, the Navy has more benefits than meet the eye.
Today's Navy is a high-tech organization with career paths in over 60 different fields. You might picture yourself aboard aircraft carriers and submarines, but you're just as likely to spend your days at a computer monitoring nuclear power or in the cockpit of an F/A-18 Super Hornet jet. Find your place among the Sailors, scientists, artists and aviators who call the Navy home.
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The Next Step: Training
Once someone has committed to serving in the Military, it's time for them to get the training they need to succeed.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Rafael Whitson: I grew up in a Navy family: my grandfather was in the Navy and all my uncles were in the Navy, so it just seemed right that being that I wanted to join the service, that I’d join the Navy.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Andrew Crandall: After high school, I decided that I didn’t want to just go right to college. I figured I would join the Military, do something for my country, and maybe get a little money for college, on the side.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Glaude: Talking with friends who are back home, it’s actually pretty exciting because, you know, they’ve been in Texas the whole time, and I’ve been in two years and I’ve seen eight different places.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Rafael Whitson: What makes me proudest to serve my country is that not everybody does it. It’s something that you have to choose to do.
Petty Officer 3rd Class Robert Glaude: Honestly, I’ve gotten a lot more than—than what I can measure. Like, in college courses or in money in the bank account—the life experiences I’ve gotten, I’ve got from the Navy and just the growing up, the maturity that I think I’ve gotten from the Navy.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Maya Dover: You really see how much you impact the Navy. It’s definitely humbling.closeX