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The Naval History of Pennsylvania

By Naval History and Heritage Command Communication and Outreach Division

Citizens of Pennsylvania have long contributed to America’s naval history, going all the way back to the founding of our nation. During the Revolution, Pennsylvania native Benjamin Franklin served as America’s naval representative in Europe. Franklin’s support of Lambert Wickes’s raids on English shipping and John Paul Jones’s daring feats helped bring the war to British shores and helped build a strong foundation for our Navy.

With 140 miles of waterfront and the strategic port of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to several important naval facilities, including Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Philadelphia Division, Naval Support Activity Mechanicsburg and six Navy Operational Support Centers.

More than 30 ships have been named after Pennsylvania, its cities, places, and people. Three ships have been named after the state itself, including one battleship (BB 38) and an Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN 735).

Check out our infographic for more information on the Sailors, ships, and places in Pennsylvania with ties to naval history and heritage!