The Navy Birthday is one of the two Navy-wide dates celebrated annually – Navy Birthday and Navy Day.
The United States Navy was originally established as the Continental navy on 13 October 1775, when 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. The legislation also established a Naval Committee to supervise the work. All together, the Continental Navy numbered some fifty ships over the course of the war, with approximately twenty warships active at its maximum strength.
Navy Day was originally sponsored by the Navy League 1922. Navy Day is designed to give recognition to the naval service. The Navy League of New York proposed that the official observance be on 27 October in honor of President Theodore Roosevelt, who had been born on that day.
In 1972 Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized recognition of 13 October as the Navy’s birthday. In contrast to Navy Day, the Navy Birthday is intended as an internal activity for members of the active forces and reserves, as well as retirees, and dependents. Since 1972 each CNO has encouraged a Navy-wide celebration of this occasion "to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service."