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On Oct. 13, 1775, at the urging of John Adams and his fellow “navalists,” the Second Continental Congress approved a plan to commission two warships — relatively diminutive 10-gun sailing vessels with 80-man crews — to intercept British arms shipments to the colonies. Not everybody liked the idea of a standing naval force; congressional delegate Edward Rutledge of South Carolina called one proposal “the most wild, visionary mad project that ever had been imagined.” Nevertheless, an American Navy was born, and it’s grown into a 279-ship force that dominates the globe’s high seas.
So how does the Navy, which turns 242 today, celebrate another year of going down to the sea in ships? The way it celebrates any fine Navy day: by working its ass off. Here are 18 images showing how sailors around the fleet spent their last Navy birthday on Oct. 13, 2016.
Playing with rubber boats
Droning on and on
Keeping a lookout
Fixing the thing with the other thing
Just putting it out there
Showing the flag
Scraping. Lots of scraping
Coiling, faking, and flemishing lines
Showing flashes of brilliance
Making a concrete difference
Taking the strain
Cooking something up
Don’t worry, there’s cake, too!
Adam Weinstein is a Navy vet and previously served as a senior editor for Task & Purpose. His work has appeared in Esquire, GQ, Gawker, and the New York Times.
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