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News | Oct. 14, 2020

Navy celebrates 245 years of victories at sea

By Leon Moore DLA Aviation Public Affairs

On this day, way back in 1775, the Continental Congress established the first American naval force, the precursor to today’s United States Navy.

Now fast forward to 1972, when then Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Elmo R. Zumwalt authorized Oct. 13 to be recognized as the official birthday of the U.S. Navy as a celebration “to enhance a greater appreciation of our Navy heritage, and to provide a positive influence toward pride and professionalism in the naval service.”

This year marks the Navy’s 245th birthday. In celebration of this milestone, the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Customer Operations Directorate’s Naval Aviation Customer Facing Division hosted a cake cutting ceremony in the Lott’s Conference Center on Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia Oct. 13.

Those in attendance included active duty, reserve and retired Navy, as well as members from other military branches.

Recorded video birthday messages by the Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday, kicked off the ceremony.

This was followed by the cutting of the Navy's birthday cake by the most senior and the most junior personnel. This honor went to Navy Captain Kenneth Ryker, who is the chief of Defense Logistics Agency Aviation’s Customer Operations Directorate’s Naval Aviation Customer Facing Division and the most senior Navy representative at DLA Aviation Richmond and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Coers, an inventory management specialist within the Directorate’s Mapping Division, who is the most junior.

After the ceremony, Ryker took a few minutes to reflect on his more than three decades of Naval service.

“It has changed tremendously over the years. This one is probably the most different than any of the previous birthdays just due to the pandemic situation we have found ourselves in,” he said.

This year’s birthday celebration comes 20 years and a day after one of the darkest episodes in the services’ history. On Oct. 12, 2000, a suicide bombing attack on the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG-67) in Aden, Yemen killed 17 sailors.

A grime anniversary not lost on those who attended the celebration.

“During this year’s birthday celebration, we remember those lost during the Cole attack and honor those heroes who fought to save lives and their ship.  Cole’s sailors remind us what sailors do in the face of great challenges, they fight and overcome,” said Commander Jon Schumann, who serves as the operations officer for the division.