Happy Birthday, Navy! You’re 243 Years Old But Don’t Look A Day Over 97

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Saturday marks the U.S. Navy’s birthday, which hopefully means celebrations, big cakes, and the senior leadership telling sailors how freaking awesome they are.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith are here to at least deliver the latter:

“243 years ago, our Navy was founded to protect America from attack, to secure our prosperity and our interests around the world, and we’ve been doing that every day since,” Richardson said in a video birthday message, first published by the U.S. Naval Institute.

Here’s the full video:

Navy Secretary Richard Spencer also wrote a letter addressed to naval personnel and their families, in which he praised their “hard work and dedication” while wishing a happy birthday to all his “shipmates.”

He wrote:

For 243 years the Navy has been a global force, forged from the sea, united in a common purpose, ready to fight respond

To our Sailors, civilians, families and friends, for 243 years the Navy has been a global force, forged from the sea, united in a common purpose, ready to fight, respond, and defend wherever there is need.

Because of your hard work and dedication, the foundation for restoring readiness and increasing lethality has been set. But as we enter our 244th year of service, we must now build on that foundation. I need you to continually think of how to improve the delivery of the Navy the Nation needs with a committed sense of urgency.

We are accountable for how and where we invest our time and our resources, and we must understand the readiness and lethality we gain from those investments. To that end, we must be disciplined in our focus on our people, capabilities, and processes.

We have developed plans informed by the National Defense Strategy, which recognizes that our primary role is warfighting. Now each of us must align our efforts to in order to accomplish these plans. Ask yourselves and each other, how can we accomplish our mission better, faster, and cheaper.

With your help, I have no doubt we will leverage every resource, leading practice, and efficiency we can find with the professionalism, integrity and accountability the American people expect.

My wife Polly and I are forever grateful for all that you, your families, and your loved ones do for our Nation. Happy Birthday Shipmates — God bless you and God bless the United States Navy.

Secretary of the Navy

Richard Spencer

Established on Oct. 13, 1775 through a resolution of the Continental Congress, the first iteration of the American Navy consisted of a “a swift sailing vessel, to carry ten carriage guns, and a proportionable number of swivels, with eighty men, be fitted, with all possible despatch, for a cruise of three months,” according to the Naval History and Heritage Command.

After the Revolutionary War, the Department of the Navy was established by Congress on April 30, 1798, although then-CNO Adm. Elmo Zumwalt in 1972 ordered sailors to recognize the Oct. 13 date as the official Navy birthday.