Can You Get More Than 11 Right on This Navy Quiz?

By: Geoff Hoppe
Image: Monty Rakusen/Cultura/Gettyimages

About This Quiz

The U.S. Navy has been defending her country for well over two centuries. That's 200+ years of battles, campaigns and patrols on the sea, air and land. That's countless thousands of sailors, Marines and aviators who've sacrificed for their country. That's also a lot of information, and a standing challenge to see how much you know. 

In the same way Navy midshipmen challenge themselves to constantly be better in their defense of their country, challenge yourself to see how much you know about the people who keep our oceans safe. How many Navy ships do you know? How many sea battles can you name? Are you aware of trivia like what animal is present on the sidelines of Naval Academy football games? 

You might be surprised at some of the information here. The Navy has been a path to international dominance, victory in World Wars, technological developments, and even outer space, for numerous Middies. The question is how your knowledge matches up against the Navy's many milestones. 

If you think you've got what it takes to get more than 11 on this quiz about the United States Navy, jump in feet first and put your knowledge of the Navy to the test!

What is the highest rank currently available in the U.S. Navy?

Admiral is the highest rank currently held in the Navy. Fleet Admiral is technically higher, but no one holds currently holds that position.

The Continental Navy (the U.S. Navy's forerunner) was established by Congress in this year...

The Navy dates its founding to Oct. 13, 1775. On that date, the Continental Congress bought two ships with the intent of disrupting British supply lines.

What ship is nicknamed Old Ironsides?

The USS Constitution is better known as Old Ironsides. It got that name when a British cannonball bounced off the side of the ship.

What early American naval hero was famous for his conduct in the Barbary Wars, and was killed in a duel?

Stephen Decatur became famous for his heroism in the Barbary Wars. He was killed in a duel with James Barron, another naval officer.

What 1942 naval battle is often cited as the turning point in America's war in the Pacific?

The Battle of Midway took place from June 4-7, 1942. It's often cited as a turning point that halted Japan's offensive momentum.

This was history's first nuclear submarine...

The U.S. Navy's USS Nautilus was the first submarine powered by nuclear energy. The Nautilus was first launched in 1954.

What lengthy WWII naval "battle" lasted multiple years, and was essentially one long, massive campaign?

The Battle of the Atlantic is the name given to naval actions in the Atlantic between 1939 and 1945. Much of the "Battle" concerned shipping from America to Britain.

What name is given to the North Vietnamese attack on the USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy in August, 1964?

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident is the name given to the torpedoing of the USS Maddox in 1964. As a result, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was passed by the U.S. Congress, which led to the escalation of U.S. war efforts in Vietnam.

What U.S. naval officer is responsible for opening Japan in 1853?

Matthew Perry opened up Japan in 1853. Japan had been effectively closed off to outside powers since the early 1600s.

Who is the current Chief of Naval Operations on the Joint Chiefs of Staff?

John M. Richardson is the current Chief of Naval Operations. He has held that position since Sept. 18, 2015.

Which Revolutionary War naval battle turned away a British fleet attempting to reinforce Lord Cornwallis?

The Battle of the Chesapeake saw a joint French-American naval force repel a British naval force from backing up Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown. The battle took place on Sept. 5, 1781.

Who was commander in chief of America's Pacific Fleet during WWII?

Chester Nimitz commanded American naval forces in the Pacific theater. Nimitz was a great supporter of the use of submarines, having served as chief of staff to the commander of America's submarine fleet in WW1.

What is the lowest commissioned rank in the U.S. Navy?

Ensign is the lowest commissioned (officer) rank in the U.S. Navy. Ensign is also the lowest pay grade.

What class of ship, first ordered in 1978, can launch Tomahawk missiles, and can be also be used for anti-submarine and anti-aircraft purposes?

Guided missile cruisers were first ordered in 1978, and can fire Tomahawk cruise missiles. 22 of the 27 guided missile cruisers are still in action.

How many active duty (non-reserve) members does the Navy currently have?

There are 329,867 active duty members of the Navy as of December 2018. There are roughly 100,000 reserve members.

At what War of 1812 naval battle did Captain Oliver Perry defeat a British naval force, and win the American navy's first squadron victory?

The Battle of Lake Erie saw Oliver Perry defeat a squadron of six British ships. The battle helped prevent the British from threatening America's Northwest Territories.

At what WWII naval battle in the southern Solomon Islands did the Japanese fleet lose 24 ships?

The Battle of Guadalcanal saw the Japanese and American fleets lose 24 ships each. The naval battle was actually part of a larger land, sea and air battle in which the U.S. captured an important Japanese airfield.

This legendary American naval commander is famous for the quote, "Sir, I have not yet begun to fight..."

John Paul Jones uttered the words "I have not yet begun to fight" in a Revolutionary War battle between his ship, the Bonhomme Richard, and a British warship, the Serapis. John Paul Jones' remains were interred at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1906.

What is the term for an anchor that has its chain wrapped around it?

A fouled anchor has its chain wrapped around it, or, in some cases, is caught on something. The fouled anchor has been adopted as the emblem of a Chief Petty Officer.

What guided missile destroyer, launched in 2013, has a stealth profile?

The USS Zumwalt is a guided missile destroyer with a stealth profile that makes it a much smaller mark on enemy radar (smaller by a factor of 50). At one point, the name of the ship's captain was, fortuitously, James Kirk.

What Alfred Thayer Mahan book argued that naval power was key to international dominance?

Alfred Thayer Mahan's "The Influence of Sea Power Upon History" argues that the British Empire became powerful, to a great extent, because of its navy. His book was highly influential, particularly on then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Teddy Roosevelt.

What sunken ship is underneath a memorial at Pearl Harbor?

The USS Arizona is directly beneath the USS Arizona Memorial, at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The memorial was designed by Alfred Preis, an Austrian who emigrated to the United States to escape the Nazi invasion of his country.

This black sailor became famous for his bravery in firing back at Japanese pilots at Pearl Harbor...

Dorie Miller, originally a cook, is famous for firing back at attacking Japanese planes. Miller also saved multiples lives by carrying fellow midshipmen out of damaged areas of his ship.

In what year was the Navy Fighter Weapons School, also known as Top Gun, started?

The Top Gun school was started in 1969. Thanks to Top Gun, Navy pilots increased their kill ratio from 2:1 against enemies, to 13 enemy planes downed for every one American plane downed.

What is the U.S. Navy's official song?

"Anchors Aweigh" is the U.S. Navy's official song. It was written in 1906, originally as a college fight song.

What emotion are The Navy SEALS formally trained to process differently than most people?

Navy SEALs are trained to process fear in a more efficient fashion. This surely helps in their highly hazardous line of work.

Which sort of ships are crewed by volunteers?

Submarines are crewed entirely by volunteers. Of course, there are certain perks to being a submariner, such as better-than-average chow on board.

What is the name of the experimental stealth ship built by Lockheed-Martin, but never used by the Navy?

The Sea Shadow is the name of the stealth boat tested by Lockheed, but never used by the Navy. However, some of the technology developed for the Sea Shadow found its way into the design of Navy submarines.

In which African country did piracy become a problem for the Navy in the early 21st century?

The area off the coast of Somalia became a major hotspot for piracy in the early 21st century. Naval counter-piracy efforts also focused on the Gulf of Guinea, and Southeast Asia.

The sinking of what Navy ship near Havana, in 1898, began the Spanish-American War?

The sinking of the USS Maine on Feb. 5, 1898, became a rallying point for those who wanted to declare war on Spain. In April of 1898, the U.S. would declare war on Spain, eventually winning territories in Cuba, Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

This ship was the first commissioned aircraft carrier in the U.S. Navy...

The USS Langley was the Navy's first aircraft carrier, commissioned in 1922. The Langley was actually a collier ship (a coal-carrier) that was transformed into an aircraft carrier. The Langley was scuttled in 1942 after a Japanese attack damaged her engines.

This Revolutionary War battle saw the first Marine amphibious landing...

The Battle of Nassau saw the first American Marine amphibious landing in the Revolutionary War. The battle's goal was the capture of British gunpowder and weapons to supply the Continental Army.

What animal is the mascot of the U.S. Naval Academy?

The Naval Academy's mascot is Bill the Goat. The Naval Academy actually has two Bill the Goats, a costumed mascot and an actual goat.

Which Navy aviator was the first man to stand on the moon?

Before going to space, Neil Armstrong flew an F9F Panther in the Korean War. Armstrong also flew the experimental X-15 before he went to space.

What 1958 Naval Academy graduate refused release from a Vietnamese prison camp before other POWs were first released?

John McCain refused to be released early, and chose instead to uphold the Navy order that soldiers should only be released in the order they're captured. As punishment, his North Vietnamese captors tortured him for several days.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes