Only a True Sailor Can Pass This Quiz about the Navy!

By: John Miller
Image: Stocktrek Images/ Stocktrek Images/gettyimages

About This Quiz

There are five branches comprising the United States Armed Forces, and in that bunch, the Navy is the master of the seas. Without the Navy, America would have a much smaller global presence and a massively reduced sphere of influence. But thanks to the Navy – which is the biggest in the world – the U.S. projects military might in every hemisphere. In this shark-infested quiz, show us what do you really know about the U.S. Navy.

The Navy has very old roots and has played a role in all of America’s armed conflicts. But strangely, for a while, the nation decided to do without any sort of warships at all. What do you recall about the up-and-down history of these seafaring warriors?

What began as a tiny (almost pointless) fleet eventually bloomed into a truly powerful force. During World War II, the Navy grew to particularly impressive size. The ships that fought at the Philippines and Pearl Harbor are now iconic.

From frigates to aircraft carriers to submarines, the Navy is a wonderland of iron and might. Take this U.S. Navy quiz now!

The Continental Navy was formed during which conflict?

In 1775, during the American Revolution, the Founding Fathers created the Continental Navy. Officials approved the building of 13 brand new frigates to fight the British.

What happened to the Continental Navy after the American Revolution?

After the revolution, Americans saw no need for a standing military. They disbanded the Navy just as they did the Army.

About how many active duty personnel are in the modern U.S. Navy?

The U.S. Navy is an incredibly powerful tool of the Department of Defense. There are currently around 325,000 active duty personnel in the Navy.

The Navy's motto is "Semper Fortis." What does that mean?

The Navy sails by the motto of "Semper Fortis." It means "Always Courageous." The service's official march is titled, "Anchors Aweigh."

How did the original 13 frigates of the Continental Navy fare against the British during the revolution?

The Continental Navy's frigates were laughably weak in the face of the British juggernaut. Only eight made it into battle, and most of those were either captured or sent to the bottom of the sea.

How many ships does the modern Navy have?

Currently, the Navy has about 500 ships at its disposal. That includes small ships and huge aircraft carriers.

True or false? All submarine crew members in the Navy are volunteers.

Submarines are cramped places with no windows -- and not just anyone can thrive in that kind of environment. That's one reason that sub duty is for volunteers only.

The U.S. Navy fought the Battle of Leyte Gulf during which war?

The Battle of Leyte Gulf was one of the biggest naval battles in human history. Dozens of ships and hundreds of planes clashed between U.S. and Japanese forces in this mammoth WWII battle.

What was the name of the first armed sea vessel of the American Revolution?

The USS Hannah is regarded as the very first warship of the American Revolution. It was a fishing schooner outfitted with four 4-pound guns.

Who names Navy ships?

The Secretary of the Navy has the privilege of naming ships. He or she can delve into suggestions from sailors, the general public, or any number of other sources.

About 65 vessels served in the Continental Navy during the revolution. How many of those ships survived the war?

The Continental Navy struggled mightily against superior British ships and crews in the American Revolution. Just 11 of the Navy's 65 ships made it through the war.

What is the Navy's special operations group called?

Navy SEALs are special operations troops who tackle small, complex (and often dangerous) military missions. They are among the most highly-trained soldiers on the planet.

What's the purpose of the NCIS?

NCIS stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the law enforcement segment of the Navy. It pursues criminal matters within the Navy and Marines, but it is also tasked with counter-terrorism and sweeping national security matters.

Who is Richard V. Spencer?

Richard V. Spencer is the Secretary of the Navy. Spencer was a Marine and flew as an aviator in the '70s.

What were George Washington's feelings about the Navy during the revolution?

Washington knew sea power was vital to the revolutionary cause. He backed the development of a strong Navy for the war effort.

What happened at the WWII Battle of Midway?

In June 1942, the U.S. Navy fought with a huge Japanese force near a tiny atoll in the Pacific. Tipped off by code breakers, U.S. ships sank all four Japanese carriers and turned the tide of the Pacific War.

Which phrase is NOT part of the Navy's mission statement?

There's no phrase about building shipyards in the Navy's mission statement. The statement reads: "The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas."

The Navy was disbanded after the American Revolution. Why did the government bring it back in​ 1794?

After the Revolution, the Navy was disbanded. But in doing so, the U.S. made itself an easy target for pirates, so in 1794, Congress authorized the branch's resurrection.

What is the birthplace of the U.S. Navy?

For many years, Beverly and Marblehead, Massachusetts, have been arguing to be named the true birthplace of the U.S. Navy. Regardless of the actual town, it was the state of Massachusetts that gave rise to the USS Hannah during the American Revolution.

How many Navy veterans of World War II were eventually elected president?

Navy veterans of WWII earned many accolades from voters. An incredible six WWII Navy men made it to the highest office in the land. That includes John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter.

The United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program is better known was what?

The United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program is commonly known as Topgun. It's the place that trains naval aviators, and yes, it was the inspiration for the iconic Tom Cruise movie, "Top Gun."

The Navy created its Topgun naval aviator program during which conflict?

Alarmed by the poor performance of its fighter pilots in Vietnam, the Navy founded its Topgun school. In short order, pilot kill-loss ratios drastically improved, and American pilots dominated their enemies.

About how many aircraft does the Navy maintain?

If you believe the Navy is all ships, think again. The current Navy has about 3,700 aircraft, which greatly increase this force's sphere of influence.

What sort of ship is the USS Enterprise?

The USS Enterprise is a huge aircraft carrier that first saw service in 1961. The Enterprise was the world's first nuclear-powered carrier. It was decommissioned in 2017.

At the start of the War of 1812, the U.S. had just 16 warships. How many did the British have?

The Navy was tiny at the start of the War of 1812. Its 16 ships were no match for Britain's 600 … and the redcoats capitalized on their numerical advantage, invading even Washington.

The Navy fought at the Battle of Mobile Bay, which was part of which war?

The 1864 Battle of Mobile Bay found Union and Confederate ships fighting near Mobile Bay, Alabama. Union forces triumphed, and leader David Farragut gained fame for shouting, "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!"

The Forrestal class is what sort of ship?

In the '50s, the Navy deployed Forrestal-class aircraft carriers. They were the first of the so-called supercarriers, huge ships that made WWII-era carriers look small by comparison.

During the American Revolution, what happened to the USS Hannah, America's first warship?

The USS Hannah did battle with a British ship and was run aground. She survived the fight but was decommissioned shortly afterward.

What is one extraordinary feature of the USS Enterprise?

The USS Enterprise isn't the longest ship in American history -- she's the longest ship ever built. Now decommissioned, she measures 1,123 feet long, enough room for more than 4,500 sailors.

What's the purpose of the Navy's Seabees?

The Seabees are part of the United States Naval Construction Forces. In combat zones, they built everything from roads to airstrips and a whole lot more -- whatever the Navy needs to fight the enemy.

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