When the United States was just a glimmer in the Founding Fathers’ eyes, everyone knew that eventually sea power would be a game-changing force. And they knew that Britain would wield its awe-inspiring navy to punish the rebel colonies. But the Patriots issued the Declaration of Independence, anyway, and frantically assembled the breakaway colonies’ first fleet. Since then, America’s Navy has evolved in incredible – and almost unbelievable – ways. Damn the torpedoes and jump into the waters of this crazy Navy quiz!
Long before anyone had ever built an airplane, ships were the way of the warrior. Empires like Britain and Spain used their galleons to control shipping lanes and coasts all over the world. Once America gained her independence, her Navy changed in a hurry. Do you know how the Navy has shifted in size and power in the past few centuries?
In the 20th century, two world wars completely overhauled the military, including the Navy. What was once an average fleet of boats morphed into a monstrous machine that could pummel targets anywhere on Earth. Let’s see if you’re fit to command the USS Enterprise or if you should be stuck on a garbage scow. Take this U.S. Navy quiz now!
Which American icon is regarded as the father of the U.S. Navy?
He had zero Navy experience, but George Washington keenly understood the power of warships. He was certain the U.S. would never amount to anything without a proper Navy, and he said so.
What are the Blue Angels?
The Blue Angels is a special demonstration flight squadron of the U.S. Navy. Each year, the Angels swoop and dive all over the country in a show of the branch's amazing air power.
What was the first incarnation of the Navy named?
In 1775, the Second Continental Congress created the Continental Navy. It featured few ships, and they suffered mightily at the hands of the powerful British navy. Yet they set the foundation for a branch that became vital in defending national security.
After the American Revolution, what happened to the Navy?
After the Revolution, officials disbanded the Navy. They did the same to Army, as standing military forces were deemed at odds with the new republic's ideals of liberty.
Why was the Navy brought back after being disbanded in the wake of the Revolution?
American ideals disbanded the Navy after the Revolution. But rampant piracy meant the young country needed a way to defend its interests … so the Navy came to the rescue.
In the Navy, what does "Bravo Zulu" mean?
In the Navy, it's shorthand for "mission accomplished." "Bravo Zulu" means "well done."
What's unique about all American submariners?
Subs are cramped places that require willing sailors with nerves of steel. All American submariners are volunteers, and they must pass rigorous psychological evaluations.
About how many active duty members are there in today's Navy?
The Navy is a very substantial branch of the U.S. military. There are more than 320,00 men and women on active duty, ready to serve at a moment's notice.
Ships don't have walls. Instead, they're called what?
Ship life is full of esoteric lingo. There are no walls on Navy ships. They're called "bulkheads."
What's the purpose of the Blue Angels squadron?
In the middle of the 20th century, not many Americans associated the Navy with air power. The Blue Angels were formed in large part to show off naval aviation's skill and power, and to boost the wing's morale.
Women make up what percentage of today's Navy?
It's no surprise that men still make up most of the Navy. But women are gaining on them. They now comprise about 20 percent of the Navy.
The U.S. Navy is legendary in part because it introduced which technology during the Civil War?
During the Civil War, both sides unveiled the world's first ironclad ships. These ships were nearly impervious to cannon fire, and they heralded a new age of warship construction.
What animal is the mascot of the Naval Academy?
You might expect a sea creature to be the Naval Academy's mascot. It's not. Instead, they have Bill the Goat, in part because sailors used to keep goats aboard ships to eat garbage and provide milk and meat.
Some sailors get tattoos of dolphins for what purpose?
Dolphins have been known to drive off sharks, and sailors -- who might end up in the water at any moment -- do not like sharks. Dolphin tattoos represent a hope that they'll never been eaten a la "Jaws."
Which U.S. president committed to rebuilding the Navy and hoped to maintain at least 600 warships?
After Vietnam, the Navy began dwindling in power and ship numbers. President Ronald Reagan stepped in and made a renewed commitment to this branch, indicating that he intended to build ship numbers to around 600.
President Ronald Reagan campaigned on a promise to rebuild the Navy to 600 warships in the 1980s. In reality, how many ships did the Navy wind up with?
Reagan told his voters that he'd reinvigorate the Navy, and he did just that. He didn't quite make it to 600, but warships increased to 594, making the president a hero of the Navy and its supporters.
What was the Navy called during the Civil War?
During the American Civil War, the United States was shredded in two. But the Union Navy, along with the Union Army, was determined to make it whole again.
The Martin JRM Mars was built for the Navy during WWII. What was it?
The Martin JRM Mars was a gigantic flying boat made just for the U.S. Navy in WWII. Only a handful were built, for the purpose of transporting large amounts of cargo via seaplane.
How many ships did the Union Navy have at the start of the Civil War?
The Union Navy had 42 ships ready to fight at the start of the Civil War. The North ramped up production so vigorously that by the end of the war, that number had jumped to more than 671.
Some superstitious sailors get tattoos of a pig and chicken to protect against what?
It's one of the biggest fears of sailors … that they'll drown at sea. It's why some of them get a traditional tattoo of a pig and chicken, in hopes of warding off a watery end.
Why was the Blue Angels squadron disbanded in 1950?
In 1950, the U.S. became enmeshed in the Korean War, and pilots were needed for combat instead of flight demonstrations. But a year later, the team was brought back, and since then, it has only gotten bigger and more popular, with millions of spectators at air shows each year.
What is the march song of the U.S. Navy?
Written in 1906 by Charles Zimmerman, "Anchors Aweigh" is the Navy's official march. It's also the fight song of the Naval Academy.
Which country's navy won the biggest naval battle in recorded history?
In 1944, during WWII, the U.S. clashed with Japan at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest sea battle ever. For four days, the titans of the Pacific fought … and when the waves settled, the U.S. reigned supreme.
In which decade did the U.S. Navy become -- without a doubt -- the most powerful navy on Earth?
In the early 1990s, the USSR fell apart, leaving its superpower status in tatters. The United States and its navy suddenly stood alone as the mightiest military power the world had ever seen.
What were Union Navy sailors like in the Civil War?
Union Navy men were nothing like the professionals of today. They were often societal rejects incapable of holding down a job, and many of them were practically forced into service.
The United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program is better known as what?
It wasn't just a movie. Top Gun is the name of the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program. It was started during Vietnam to help fighter pilots perfect their fighting skills -- and it worked.
What happened to the U.S. Navy after the Vietnam War?
After the Vietnam War, the Navy became a much lower priority for America. Its ship numbers dropped precipitously, and those that remained were antiquated holdovers from the WWII era. But President Ronald Reagan reversed the trend.
When did the American Navy finally have more sailors than the mighty British navy?
For centuries, the British ruled the world's seas. During World War I, however, America ramped up its navy, and by the time the Great War ended, its sea force outnumbered Britain's sailors.
How did most Union Navy sailors die during the Civil War?
About 2,100 sailors died at the hands of Confederate fire in the Civil War. But as with Army troops, diseases took an even bigger toll -- and that's what killed more than 2,400 sailors.
How does the current Navy size compare to that of the WWI era?
Today's Navy is small by history's standards, with fewer than 300 ships, less than the country had during WWI. But today's ships are so advanced that America needs fewer of them to dominate world affairs.
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!
Get smarter every day! Subscribe & get 1 quiz every week.
Playing quizzes is free! We send trivia questions and personality tests every week to your inbox. By
clicking "Sign Up" you are agreeing to our
years old or over.