History Of The Modern Navy

History Of The Modern Navy

From the late 1700s to the 1880s, the “Old Navy” fought bravely for the U.S. despite often being outnumbered. The Navy became world’s largest naval fleet in the early 1900s. This came as a result of the nation’s efforts to modernize the Navy starting in 1882. You can learn more about the “Old Navy” here, and read on to learn more about the “New Navy.”

This timeline of events outlines the history of the modern Navy:

Late 1800s

When the Civil War concluded, the Navy began to shrink in terms of fleet and crew. In 1882, Navy Secretary William H. Hunt reversed this trend by modernizing the Navy. Not only was there a need to add numbers in both fleet and crew, there was also a need to build ships designed for modern warfare.

On Feb. 15, 1898, the Spanish American War began abruptly after the USS Maine exploded at the Spanish-controlled Havana Harbor in Cuba. On July 3, the Navy conquered the entire Spanish Caribbean fleet at the Battle of Santiago de Cuba.


The U.S. continued its Navy modernization efforts by commissioning their first submarine, the USS Holland, on Oct. 12, 1900. By 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt expanded the fleet by adding the “Great White Fleet,” a 16-ship group tasked with riding around the globe to show national pride and power.

In 1915-16 the Navy increased its efforts to grow. March 3, 1915 marks the birth of the Navy Reserve, and July 21, 1916 is when Congress passed “The Big Navy Act.” This act put a plan in motion to surpass the British Royal Navy in size. In 1917-18, the Navy sunk German U-Boats for the first and final times during World War I.

On March 20, 1922, the Navy continued to innovate by turning unfinished battleships into aircraft carriers. 1930 brought even more innovation with the introduction of RADAR.

On December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor was attacked by bombs and torpedoes. The USS Arizona was sunk and remains at the bottom of the harbor even today. This was the catalyst to the U.S. entering armed conflicts in World War II. By Sept. 2, 1945, the U.S. accepted Japan’s surrender on the deck off USS Missouri.

From 1950-1999, the Navy was involved in the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War as well as other conflicts. For these, the Navy was primarily used for air support.


Following Sept. 11, 2001, the Navy sent the USNS Comfort to aid with the victims of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in Manhattan. Ten years later, the Navy found the man responsible, Osama Bin Laden, and sent the SEALs to infiltrate his compound—they were successful with no U.S. casualties.

Give Back To The Navy

Now the Navy is responsible for many things like: intelligence, defense and international disaster relief. Navy veterans bravely fought to secure the nation’s freedom while also assisting those in need after disasters. An easy way to give back to disabled veterans is by donating any unwanted vehicle you may have laying around to Vehicles For Veterans.

Vehicles For Veterans benefits both veterans and you when you donate. With free towing and a great tax deduction provided, you can have a pleasant, hassle-free experience while also clearing up much-needed space. Meanwhile, disabled veterans will greatly benefit from your donation! Donate to this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization today by calling 1-855-811-4838 or by filling out the convenient online donation form. Your boat, or any other vehicle, donation will fittingly help you give back to the Navy and veterans from other branches.  

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