What Are The First War Ships of US Navy - Top 10 Oldest
|What Are The First War Ships of US Navy - Top 10 Oldest War Ships|
Each war introduced new naval technology, new tactics, new weaponry, and most importantly, new ships. What started as a single vessel commissioned by frustrated colonists has grown into roughly 300 ships and more than 300,000 personnel in a fighting organization that has dominated the world’s oceans unchallenged for 75 years.
On 2 January 1794, the Third Congress of the United States resolved to create “a naval force, adequate to the protection of the United States against the Algerine corsairs.” A committee was formed, and it ultimately recommended that six frigates be purchased or constructed. Congress approved the recommendations and on 27 March 1794, President George Washington, signed “An act to provide a naval armament,” which established the U.S. Navy.
Using government sources like the U.S. Navy’s own archives, as well as historical accounts, news reports, museum databases, and official records of individual ships, we profiled 10 of the oldest warships in American history.
Created by Congress in April 1798, the Department of the Navy has its earliest roots in the Continental navy formed in 1775 by General George Washington to defend the American colonies from British attack. In the absence of a national navy, the American colonies relied extensively on privateers (a private ships authorized by the government to attack enemy ships) to harass British shipping. The British held superiority at sea prior to the formation of the Continental navy, threatening the disruption of colonial trade and the destruction of coastal settlements. On October 3, 1775, the Continental Congress (the governing body consisting of delegates from each of the 13 American colonies, and later from the 13 states) received information about two unarmed English brigs, departing England bound for Quebec, which was carrying munitions for British troops. While waiting for Congress to authorize a navy, George Washington took matters into his own hands by commanding three schooners to cruise off the coast of Massachusetts and intercept enemy supply lines. Massachusetts sailors on army duty manned these makeshift warships.
U.S. Navy Ships History
The holdings of the Still Picture Branch include a variety of depictions of ships used by the United States Navy. This list includes pictures of types of ships used from the Revolutionary War period up until December 7, 1941, before the United States’ entry into World War II. There are no original artworks within this list, only photographs, and photographs of artworks or models. The list is divided into two sections; Early Ships and Modern Ships, as well as an Index by Ship Name.
Early Ships include ships commissioned before the use of steel in 1883, are subdivided by the method of propulsion, and listed thereunder chronologically by date of commissioning. Included within each entry is the ship’s name; a previous or later name, if applicable; date of commissioning; description of the ship; view perspective; information about the original sketch, model, or painting when known; and the local identifier number.
Modern Ships includes ships commissioned after 1883 and is subdivided by general class and, thereunder chronologically. Included within each entry are the ship's name and designator (or designator when there is no name); ship type, where applicable; photographic perspective and other information, where applicable; date of the original photograph; and the local identifier number.
Top 10 Oldest War Ships of the US Navy
1. USS Constitution
3. USS Monitor
4. USS Puritan
5. USS Texas
6. USS San Diego
7. USS Maine
8. USS Arizona
9. USS Yorktown
10. USS Missouri
1. USS Constitution
USS Constitution is the oldest commissioned ship in the United States Navy. Naval officers and crew still serve aboard her today. The USS Constitution is operated by the United States Navy, a partner to the National Parks of Boston. The Naval History and Heritage Command, Detachment Boston in Building 24 at the Charlestown Navy Yard is responsible for the maintenance, repair, and restoration of USS Constitution. Across the pier from Constitution in Building 22 is the USS Constitution Museum. The Museum serves as the memory and educational voice of USS Constitution and provides engaging and hands-on experiences for all visitors. Here you can explore how the ship was built, sailed, and preserved.
The Navy's floating dry-dock Dynamic (AFDL 6) changed command during a ceremony held at Mid-Atlantic Regional Maintenance Center. Lt. Cmdr. Alden Argante relieved Lt. Cmdr. Gaston Hatfield Jr., as commanding officer of the 78-year-old vessel Jan. 28. Dynamic is the second oldest vessel in the Navy, behind USS Constitution.
Dynamic has been in service for 78 years, and it has been the only Navy-operated AFDL in commission since 2011. The single rigid piece, through-type floating dry-dock is capable of docking Mine Countermeasure (MCM) and Patrol Coastal (PC) ships, Landing Craft Utility (LCU) and similar-sized service crafts. It is ported at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story where it provides docking services in support MARMC’s ship repair mission.
3. USS Monitor
Just three days after setting sail from Brooklyn, New York, in 1862, the iron-clad, steam-powered USS Monitor stormed into the Chesapeake Bay to protect the Navy’s wooden fleet from the approaching CSS Virginia, which had already sunk several ships en route. They engaged each other at the Battle of Hampton Roads, with both ships bouncing cannonballs off the armored hulls of the other until they both ran out of shells and withdrew in a stalemate. Although the first battle of the ironclads was not consequential, the moment in history was—the confrontation signaled the end of the era of wooden warships as both North and South raced to build newer, better-armored vessels.
4. USS Puritan
The 1882 launch of the USS Puritan represented an American awakening to the sorry state of its naval forces and the beginning of a mad scramble to catch up before the world passed it by. The rebirth of the U.S. Navy was spurred by the 1873 Virginius Affair, a tense diplomatic standoff that occurred after the Spanish captured the American ship Virginius in Cuba and executed some of its crew. Although the Spanish Navy was a shell of its former self, it became clear to the American military that the hollowed-out U.S. Navy couldn’t answer the Spanish threat or effectively project power overseas.
5. USS Texas
In 1892, the United States Navy commissioned the first modern battleship in American history—the USS Texas. Although it took so long to build it was already outdated by the time it was finished, it—along with the armored cruiser USS Maine, commissioned just one month later—represented a great leap forward in naval engineering and capability.
6. USS San Diego
Only one major warship was lost during World War I, the USS San Diego, and it sank after striking a German mine laid by a U-boat in U.S. waters off of Long Island, New York. In 1914, America was still mostly only a regional naval power, but after a series of escalations with Germany in the run-up to World War I that culminated in the sinking of the Lusitania, President Woodrow Wilson invested heavily into making America’s navy the most dominant in the world and reshuffling the balance of power on the seas. The Naval Act of 1916 ordered the construction of “10 battleships, six battle cruisers, 10 scout cruisers, 50 destroyers, 15 fleet submarines, 85 coast submarines, four gunboats, one hospital ship, two ammunition ships, two fuel oil ships, and one repair ship” in just five years, according to GlobalSecurity.org.
7. USS Maine
The simmering tensions between the United States and Spain came to a boil on February 15, 1898, when the USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana Harbor. Although it’s now known that the sinking was almost certainly the result of an internal explosion, it was presumed at the time that Spain was the culprit and the moment served as the catalyst for the Spanish-American War.
It was rumored that the ship was attacked by the Spanish. The event helped precipitate the start of the Spanish-American War.
8. USS Arizona
Like so many of the great American naval warships, the USS Arizona currently serves as an educational museum, but it does so from its watery grave under the Pacific Ocean in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The last of the Pennsylvania-class super-dreadnought battleships, Arizona was a World War I-era vessel that was transferred to Pearl Harbor as part of a move to deter Japanese aggression—it didn’t work. On Dec. 7, 1941—one of the most consequential dates in the history of the Navy and the country—Japanese torpedo bombers destroyed and sank the Arizona, killing 1,177 crewmen and officers.
9. USS Yorktown
The Battle of Midway (June 4-7, 1942) turned the tide in the Pacific after the disaster at Pearl Harbor. The U.S. entered the battle with three aircraft carriers to the four in the Japanese fleet. All four of the Japanese carriers were sunk or badly damaged. USS Yorktown was damaged earlier, at the Battle of Coral Sea on May 8, 1942. At the time, experts believed it would take 90 days to repair the ship, but Yorktown was able to be at Midway, having been put to sea only three days after repairs started at Pearl Harbor.
10. USS Missouri
The USS Missouri was one of the first new battleships put into service after the disaster at Pearl Harbor. It was involved in several engagements in World War II, including the attack on Okinawa before the landing of U.S. troops. On Sept. 2, 1945, the Japanese signed their formal surrender on the Missouri’s deck. The ship would continue in service during the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War.
The moment took place on the deck of the USS Missouri, the last battleship ever commissioned by the United States and one of the longest-serving ships in Navy history. It remained active for nearly half a century, providing fire support during Operation Desert Storm before being decommissioned in 1992.
Facts You May Not Know About the U.S. Navy
All submariners are volunteers
Could you imagine being underwater with no light, hardly any room to move, and a nuclear reactor lurking nearby? Sounds intense, right? Well, what's even more mind-blowing is that the people who operate the submarines are volunteers—albeit some of the best-trained people to come from the U.S. military.
There are a lot of brave men and women fighting for the U.S
As of this year, there are currently 328,186 active duty members in the U.S. Navy. Of that number, there are 54,713 officers, 268,987 enlisted members, and 4,486 midshipmen. That's a lot of bravery!
The largest flying boat in existence was built for the Navy
The Martian JMS-3 Mars was introduced to the U.S. Navy in 1938. With a 200-foot wingspan and ample room for weaponry, the Mars was the most intimidating aircraft of its time. The PBY Catalina pictured here, for comparison, has a wingspan of "just" 104 feet.
There are 140 NCIS locations scattered around the world
Ever wondered what it would be like to fight crime like NCIS Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs? With a lot of training and a healthy dose of bravery, you could protect those who protect us. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service operates worldwide, working to prevent crimes, protect U.S. citizens, and uphold centuries of courage and honor. Agents are even stationed on ships.
TOPGUN is more than just a famous movie
TOPGUN, otherwise known as the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program, was created during the Vietnam War to improve air combat. Following its introduction, TOPGUN drastically increased the ratio of enemy-to-U.S. military deaths.
Women make up 20 percent of all U.S. Naval personnel
There are currently 11,765 female officers and 55,922 enlisted female members in the Navy. Smart, courageous, and strong? They must be Navy women!
The Navy has an extensive list of specialty terms
Wanna join the Navy? Better read up! The Navy has a huge list of terms, each with its own fascinating history. For example, did you know that the term "Field Day" comes from the early 1800s when military men would attend parades in their honor?
There are only 17 officers in the Blue Angels each year
Think you've got what it takes to fly with the Blue Angels? There are only 17 people who voluntarily serve with the Blue Angels each year, making the position quite prestigious. If you've never seen these babies fly, you're in luck. The Blue Angels travel all over the country and you can check out their upcoming show information.
The Seabees flex their construction muscles
You've heard of the NAVY SEALs, but have you heard of the Seabees? This heroic team travels the world building Naval bases and airstrips. Their motto "We Build, We Fight," sums up their duties perfectly.
Dogs can be heroes, too
You probably won't find any actual seals hanging out with the prestigious U.S. Navy SEALs, but you might find a few war dogs. Take, for example, Cairo, a Belgian Malinois like the one pictured here. He was part of the 81-member SEAL DevGru unit responsible for taking out Osama bin Laden.
The dogs undergo rigorous training, and they even parachute in with their human co-fighters!
| Top 10 Oldest Beers In America You Should Drink |
Beer is a famous drink all around the world, and it's easy to find the best beer brands everywhere you go. We will introduce you ...
| Facts About The Oldest Restaurant In The World That You Should Visit |
Some of the world's oldest surviving businesses happen to be restaurants — and some date back to the 9th century. Let's explore the first restaurant ...
| Top 5 Most Popular Foods That Oldest Person Eat Every Day |
What do the oldest people eat every day in the world? Here we provide some guidelines you can follow to eat like they do and ...