US Navy Quiz

By: Robin Tyler

Do you know the official date on which the U.S. Navy was formed?

The United States Navy was officially formed on October 13, 1775. Its formation took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the passing of a resolution by the Second Continental Congress. This was during the American Revolutionary War and the navy was known as the Continental Navy.

True or false: The U.S. Navy is the biggest in the world.

True! And by a long way. In fact, the U.S Navy not only has more personnel and ships than other navies around the world, it has more aircraft than many air forces belonging to other countries.

It's not all about the ships! How many aircraft does the United States Navy have operational?

3,700? Yes, 3,700. That is simply incredible, don't you think? That's more than most air forces in the world. Well, the U.S. Navy learned during World War II about the power of the aircraft carrier and they still adhere to that today.

Who attacked the base of the Pacific Fleet in Hawaii, which effectively brought the United States into World War II?

Japan knew that war with the United States was inevitable. So they decided on a preemptive strike to disable the U.S. Pacific fleet. Although this attack did cause considerable damage, no carriers were destroyed as they were not in dock at the time.

On which day did Japan attack the U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor?

Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Two different raids took place with not only the fleet targeted but airfields around Hawaii as well. The attacks code name was "Tora, Tora, Tora". Tora is Japanese for Tiger.

How many active personnel does the U.S. Navy consist of?

Well, it is 330,000 or thereabouts, in fact. The Navy can also call on over 100,000 reserves and employs over 200,000 civilians. Those are some impressive figures you would have to agree.

True or false: The U.S. Navy has its own construction crew.

In 1942, the U.S. Navy set up its own construction unit. This is called the United States Naval Construction Forces or NCF for short. And their nickname? The Seabees.

Can you name a Naval Special Warfare unit. They were tasked with the raid on Osama Bin Laden's compound in Pakistan.

The SEALS can trace their roots back to World War II. They weren't called SEALs but then but Scouts and Raiders. The SEALs as we know them today were first formed in 1962.

What does SEAL stand for?

Two SEAL teams were formed in 1962, with most of the members coming from the special underwater demolition unit. Today, SEALs are one of the most highly trained soldiers in the world. Only 1% of the Navy total personnel go on to become seals.

After Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Navy fought a significant battle in the Pacific against the Japanese. What was it called?

At the Battle of Midway, the U.S. Navy struck the Imperial Japanese Navy a massive blow. Firstly, it was the first defeat it had ever tasted during World War II. Secondly, four Japanese carriers, all of which had participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor, were sunk.

True or false: President John F. Kennedy served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.

John F. Kennedy did indeed serve with the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1941 to 1945. Kennedy served among others on PT boat 109. It was rammed by the Japanese destroyer, Amagiri. Kennedy and some of his crew survived on an island and a coconut shell from there was always on his desk in the White House.

Do you know the name of the first U.S. Navy submarine that was nuclear-powered?

Named after the submarine of Captain Nemo from the Jules Verne story, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," the Nautilus went operational on September 30, 1954. It remained in service until 1980.

Which incredible feat did the Nautilus achieve in 1958?

In August 1958, the USS Nautilus submerged in the Barrow Sea Valley and traveled underwater to the magnetic North Pole. Once she reached the North Pole, the Nautilus moved onto Greenland, staying submerged for 96 hours in total.

Submariners are _________

That's right. Everyone who is a submariner on one of the many submarines in the U.S. Fleet is a volunteer as in they choose to be a submariner. Just think about it. They can be underwater for days, they operate in a confined space ... it takes a special person to be able to handle that. They are also thoroughly tested beforehand to make sure they will be able to cope with the life of a submariner.

All Navy ships have the prefix U.S.S. What does that stand for?

Every ship in the U.S. Navy fleet has the prefix U.S.S. before its name. This is to identify them as a ship of the U.S. Navy and it stands for United States Ship. In the United Kingdom for example, ships have the prefix H.M.S. which stands for Her Majesty's Ship.

The Top Gun flight school is an elite training school for U.S. Navy pilots. True or false?

The Top Gun school was formed in 1969 after it was determined that U.S. Navy kill ratios against enemy aircraft over Vietnam were not good enough. With more effective training, this ratio was increased from 3.7:1 to 13:1. The program is known as the United States Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program.

True or false: George Bush Sr. was a Navy veteran of World War II.

George Bush Sr. was in the U.S. Navy. In fact he was a pilot. Bush was shot down in 1944 and spent half a day in a inflatable raft until he was rescued by the submarine USS Finback.

Obviously rank is very important in any military force. How many officers do you think there are in the U.S. Navy?

With over 300,000 permanent members of the U.S. Navy, 100,000 reserves and over 200,000 civilians, having officers is crucial to keep everything ticking like clockwork. That's why the Navy has 54,713 officers!

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat served as the primary fighter of the U.S. Navy until recently retired. True or false?

This swept-wing fighter was first introduced in 1974 and flew operationally until 2006. Around 712 were built during this period. These aircraft received excellent Hollywood publicity thanks to the movie Topgun.

The U.S. Naval Academy has an official song. What is it?

Yes, the official song of the U.S. Naval Academy is "Anchor's Aweigh". This was first written in 1906 by Lt. Charles Zimmerman. He was the Musical Director of the Naval Academy at the time.

The biggest ship in the U.S. Naval fleet is ________

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers are massive. For example, the Nimitz class is over 1000 feet in length. And thanks to nuclear power, they can run for 20 years without the need to refuel. These massive ships can still travel at around 35 knots (40 mph).

True or false. The U.S. Navy air force is the second biggest in the world.

Yes, it is. With over 3,400 aircraft, the U.S. Navy has some serious strikepower. Only the U.S. Air Force has more aircraft (over 5,000). It even beats the Russian Air Force, which has just over 3,000 aircraft.

Who is considered the father of the U.S. Navy?

It was on the recommendation of George Washington that the Continental Congress formed the Continental Navy in the late 1700s. His objective was simple. Washington thought that if the British supply lines from England could be disrupted, the war could be won.

The first shop commissioned for the Continental Navy was the _______

The early ships in the Continental Navy were refitted fishing boats in most cases. The first was the Hannah. It didn't achieve much, however and ran aground a month later!

The Continental Navy proved a massive success against British shipping. How many ships did they capture?

Yes, the Continental Navy was able to disrupt British supply lines. It's not all about sinking other combat ships sometimes. All-in-all, the Continental Navy captured 55 British ships in two years.

Can you name the U.S. Navy flight demonstration team?

The Blue Angels are the flight demonstration team of the U.S. Navy. They were founded just after World War II in 1946. Their display team currently consists of six McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornets.

After the Continental Navy was dissolved at the end of the Revolutionary War, what was the main reason it returned?

Yes, it was pirates that saw the return of the Continental Navy. Why? Well with British warships no longer protecting trade ships, they were sitting ducks. In 1794, Congress revived the Navy. One of the first warships built for it was the USS Constitution.

True or false: The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a carrier-based aircraft operated by the U.S. Navy.

The McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet is a carrier based multi-role combat jet primarily used off U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. It first entered service in 1983 and serves with both the Navy and Marine Corps.

What is the name of the U.S. Navy's stealth destroyer?

Yeah, its the USS Zumwalt. That's a strange name for sure, but this ship is incredible. It is a little expensive and cost $4.4 billion. It is named after the former chief of naval operations, Elmo R. “Bud’’ Zumwalt Jr.

Do you know which of these is the U.S. Navy unofficial motto?

That's a pretty awesome motto, don't you think. In Latin it reads a "Non sibi sed patriae." The official motto of the navy is "Always Courageous".

Does the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle form part of the U.S. Navy air force?

A formidable fighter, the McDonnell Douglas F-15 Eagle is not part of the U.S. Navy air force. It is one of the main combat aircraft for the United States air force and was introduced in 1976.

Which SEAL team was responsible for the raid on the compound of Osama bin Laden?

SEAL Team 6 was formed in 1980. This team was tasked with the raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan, which ultimately led to his death.

Who is the U.S. Navy Academy mascot?

Yes, the Navy mascot is called Bill the Goat. He was first named mascot in the early 1900s. And today, Bill the Goat is still seen at Navy College football games.

On which U.S. Navy ship did Japan sign their surrender at the end of World War II?

The signing of the Japanese surrender took place on the USS Missouri. It took place on Sept. 2, 1945. The surrender was signed by Japanese foreign minister Mamoru Shigemitsu.

The TV show, "NCIS" is based on which branch of the U.S Navy?

Yes, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service does exist. It has offices in 140 locations worldwide. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service was established way back in World War I.

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About This Quiz

Join the Navy and see the world, they say. 

Well, unless you get a posting to a land base and never get on a ship.

The United States Navy has a long and rich history that dates back many, many years. It has seen its fair share of happy victories and painful defeats, but today it is acknowledged as the most powerful navy in the world.

And that's not only in terms of ships. The United States Navy's air wing is something to behold as well!

So how much do you actually know about the United States Navy? Of course, there is its history. Like when was it formed? Who played a prominent role in its formation? After it was disbanded, why was it brought back again a few short years later?

Or maybe you know about some famous Navy personnel? A number of U.S. presidents have spent time in the Navy. Would you know who they are?

Do you know how many aircraft the Navy operates, how many people it employs, how many reserves it has? And what about the Navy motto? Did you know there was an official and unofficial one?

Why don't we see just how much you do know about the United States Navy with this quiz!

Good luck!



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