Story by Greg Mitchell
Sailors, families and friends were in attendance during a ceremony honoring the 239th birthday of the United States Navy, held at the Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka Galley, Oct. 8.
October 13, 1775 is considered the birthday of the United States Navy, with its origins traced to the Continental Navy. On this date, the Continental Congress authorized the procurement, fitting out, manning and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America.
Thus, the United States Navy began to take shape, turning into what it eventually becomes today.
“I think it’s important to have these kinds of celebrations,” said Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Capt. David T. Glenister, guest speaker for the event. “The Navy is older than the country; it is different. The constitution is very clear; that you may rise and you shall provide for a Navy. Navies are important and always have been.”
Glenister spoke of how the Navy is more of an internationalist than the other branches of armed forces, while having the responsibility of acting as diplomats. He used the example of U.S. forces coming across foreign vessels of other navies in the ocean, which requires lines of communication on a level that other services don’t exercise.
“It is a legacy and pride that we have, the other services just don’t [have],”Glenister said. “Before, it was just men and ships; now it is both men and women on ships at sea. Three quarters of the world is covered by water. What every other service faces as an obstacle, for us is a road. It is a means to get to where we want to go.”
Glenister continued on.
“Today is about taking pride in ourselves. Sure, it’s the Navy’s birthday; 1775, before our country was born. But it goes back further than that. I encourage you to take pride in the legacy of not only the United States Navy but in all navies and how far back we go. It’s something we share with civilian mariners and navies all over the world.”
Upon the completion of the captain’s speech, Master-at-Arms Senior Chief Petty Officer, George Letourneau, officer in charge, Ikego Housing Annex, read the Chief of Naval Operations 2014 Navy Birthday message. A cake cutting was then conducted with the youngest and oldest Sailors of the command; Master at Arms Seaman Roszella Nunez and FLEACT Yokosuka Command Chaplain, Cmdr. Jonathan Smith.
“I believe that it is important to maintain Navy customs and traditions because we have to uphold what we live by,” said CFAY’s youngest Sailor, Nunez. “Particularly with me being a Master-at-Arms, upholding the code of conduct and the values that come with it is something that we should all cherish while we are a part of this great branch of service. It’s just such an honor,” said the 19-year old.
CFAY’s oldest Sailor, Smith said he has seen and been a part of so many special memories during his time as an active duty service member.
“I have been with the Navy for decades now and to be honored in this way is the pinnacle of a career which will end here at FLEACT Yokosuka,” Smith said. “The Navy has been one of the greatest adventures I’ve been on. I’ve seen some of the best and the worst that the world has to offer and I have a lot of stories to tell my grandchildren. I have just so much gratitude for everybody that I have worked with over the years. It’s the people that you serve with while in the Navy that makes all the difference.”