28 photos from the Navy's 240-year history

Celebrate the 240th birthday of the United States Navy by taking a look at 28 photos (and a couple of paintings) that capture the spirit of the sea service past and present:


Cmdr. Christian Sewell launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) in an F-35C Lightning II carrier variant joint strike fighter Nov. 4, 2014. The F-35 Lightning II Pax River Integrated Test Force from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron (VX) 23 is  conducting initial at-sea trials aboard Nimitz.

Photo: US Navy

 A port security boat assigned to Maritime Expeditionary Squadron 1 (MESRON 1) patrols the waters near Kuwait Naval Base Feb. 10, 2009.

Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth G. Takada

A Mark 7 16-inch/50 caliber gun is fired aboard the battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) as night shelling of Iraqi targets takes place along the northern Kuwaiti coast during Operation Desert Storm.

Photo: US Navy Photographer's Mate 3rd Class Dillon

U.S. Navy SEALs patrol the Mekong Delta, Vietnam in 1967.

Photo: US Navy J.D. Randal

An F-4B drops bombs on Vietnam.

Photo: US Navy

Walt Disney and Dick Van Dyke visiting the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) with Captain Martin D. Carmody on July 6, 1965

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

The USS Missouri fires 16-inch salvo at Chong Jin, Korea in an effort to cut Northern Korean communications. Chong Jin is only 39 miles from the border of China. October 21, 1950.

Photo: Wikipedia

The U.S. Navy tests nuclear bombs at Bikini Atoll Jul. 25, 1946.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

An unidentified man engages a penguin during a U.S. Navy expedition to Antarctica.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

View from a Navy ship navigating waters around Antarctica.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

Surrender of Japan, 2 September 1945 ; Navy carrier planes fly in formation over the U.S. and British fleets in Tokyo Bay during surrender ceremonies. USS Missouri (BB-63) , where the ceremonies took place, is at left. USS Detroit (CL-8) is in the right distance. Aircraft include TBM, F6F, SB2C and F4U types.

Photo: US Navy

USS Idaho (BB-42), a New Mexico-class battleship shells Okinawa on 1 April 1945, easily distinguished by her tower foremast and 5"-38 Mk 30 single turrets (visible between the barrels of the forward main turrets). Idaho was the only battleship with this configuration.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

Sailor and colleague stitching thatch in the South Pacific during WWII.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

Seabees with the 111th Naval Construction Battalion landing at Omaha Beach before the Mulberry bridge was installed, Jun. 6 1944.

Photo: US Navy/Flickr

USS Darke (APA-159)'s, LCVP 18, possibly with Army troops as reinforcements at Okinawa, sometime between Apr. 9-14 1945.

Photo: Wikipedia

The U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Hornet launches a B-25 during the Doolittle Raid.

Photo: US Navy

USS Arizona (BB-39) sunk and burning furiously, Dec. 7, 1941. Her forward magazines had exploded when she was hit by a Japanese bomb. At left, men on the stern of USS Tennessee (BB-43) are playing fire hoses on the water to force burning oil away from their ship.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

A sailor poses on the USS Bear during an expedition to Greenland in 1941.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

Sailors pose in a train at Cardiff, Wales in 1918.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

The USS Leviathan heads to France to pick up U.S. troops in this stereo photo from 1918.

Stereo Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

The USS Colorado transits the Panama Canal.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

The "Great White Fleet" steams the Atlantic Ocean as part of the U.S. Navy mission to prove that it's a blue water fleet in 1908.

Photo: Wikipedia

A dog contemplates jumping from the deck of a ship while sailing with the "Great White Fleet." According to a note with the photo in the Navy historical archive, the dog did later jump.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

Divers search the wreck of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, Cuba. The sinking of the USS Maine was one of the events that triggered the Spanish-American War.

Photo: US Navy Naval History and Heritage Command

The USS Monitor and CSS Merrimac face off in 1862 near Norfolk, Virginia. This was the first time ironclad ships faced each other in combat.

Painting: J.O. Davidson

During the Mexican-American War, the U.S. Navy attack the city of San Juan de Ullca in March 1847.

Photo: Wikipedia

During the War of 1812, the Navy played a large role by limiting the actions of the British fleet.

Painting: Edward Orme

A Revolutionary War painting depicting the Continental Navy frigate Confederacy is displayed at the Navy Art Gallery at the Washington Navy Yard.

Photo: US Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth G. Takada