Happy Birthday, US Navy!

Today marks 239 years for the United States Navy, starting with the Continental Navy, when the Continental Congress authorized the procurement of 2 armed vessels, on October 13, 1775. By the end of our War of Independence we had almost 50 ships with 20 warships in our fleet.

I live in Pensacola, Florida and we are a Navy town. Our Naval Air Base Pensacola is a longtime site for maritime vessels. This is called the “Cradle of Naval Aviation.”

navy aerialNAS Pensacola is the primary base for Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard Aviators. In 1825, President John Quincy Adams designated this area for the Pensacola Navy Yard. The Navy Appropriations Act of 1911 made the possibilities of Naval Aviation.

We are also home of the Untied States Navy Blue Angels. The Blue Angels were formed in 1946 for the morale of the Navy. We are real proud of “our” Blue Angels around here. We get two shows, one out on Pensacola Beach and then their Homecoming Show in November.

flag blue angel pcola beach signMy Grandbaby Lilly was here in July and we went out to the beach for the show. As you may imagine, it was a perfect day. The show in November will be held out on the base and we will be going out for that too.

Our Navy is rich in history. Their motto is “Not Self, But Country,” or “Non sibi sed patriae”. With that in mind, Honey and I took our pup to take a run out to the beach just last night. As we were unloading the truck, a polite young man came up to us to “borrow” a smoke, I asked: “Do you have a lighter?” Oh, yes ma’am. About 5 minutes later he came out to the water for that light. My Honey asked, “what you boys doing?” He said they were stationed out to the base. My Honey, being the Marine Vet he is,  reached around and gave that young man a twenty spot, “just to get through”.

navy flagI was standing in the water looking toward two different generations of Military men and thinking “Not Self, But Country”


Storm Flags Serve as Warning Signs

By Kristi Ries

Hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean officially begins on June 1 of each year, and lasts for nearly six tumultuous months before it comes to a close. On average, over 100 tropical storms form over the Atlantic.

Due to this high rate of activity, mariners have historically depended on warning flags displayed at their harbors and Coast Guard Stations to warn of approaching ocean storm systems.

In 2007, the U.S. Coast Guard re-established a Coastal Warning Display (Storm Flag) program at selected Coast Guard boat stations throughout the U.S to warn the public of approaching storm conditions. Coast Guard stations had participated in the National Weather Service’s official Coastal Warning Display program for over 100 years, along with yacht clubs and marinas, until it was discontinued in 1989. Today, experienced boaters can easily identify the meaning of such nautical flags, whose geometric shapes and colors represent the severity of impending weather conditions.

The flags serve to warn mariners of small craft advisories, gale warnings, storm warnings and hurricane warnings. And these flags are being used more often than ever. Scientists claim that rising air and water temperatures worldwide are creating more frequent and severe hurricanes.

A hurricane is a tropical storm with winds that have reached a constant speed of at least 74 miles per hour. The eye of such a storm is vast, usually measuring 20-30 miles wide, and can envelope more than 400 miles. Dangers of a hurricane include torrential rains, high winds and storm surges that leave major destruction in their wake. At sea, hurricanes can last for 2 weeks or more and can run a path across the entire length of the United States’ Eastern Seaboard before dissipating.

In addition to hurricane flags, there are also international maritime signal flags—one for each letter of the alphabet—that mariners can use to spell out messages or can be combined to form a code word. Boating enthusiasts and Atlantic coastline dwellers can breathe a sigh of relief this year, as the 2009 hurricane season ended uneventfully on November 30 with just three storms reaching destructive hurricane status instead of the average six.