In many ways, the United States Navy serves as the crown jewel of U.S. foreign policy. The largest and most powerful navy on the planet, America’s sea faring branch boasts 11 operational Nimitz and Ford class super carriers, each larger than any carrier in service to any other nation, with two more currently under construction. As of June of this year, the U.S. Navy employed more than 276 deployable vessels, as well as more than 3,700 operational aircraft, meaning the United States Navy is also the world’s second largest Air Force.
In 2017, the U.S. Navy conducted combat operations in multiple theaters, executed numerous show of force and freedom of navigation missions near the Korean peninsula and in the hotly contested South China Sea, and provided a stabilizing presence in many of the world’s most heavily trafficked commercial waterways. Here are the best pictures they’ve taken along the way: