The Second Largest Fleet in the World
Despite claims that at slight more than 300 ships the U.S. Navy is “too small,” it is, of course the largest in the world. But who has the second largest?
Well, one could make a good argument that not only does the United States possess the largest navy in the world, but that it also has the second largest. Not only does Uncle Sam have over 300 ships in commission, but he also has over 50 major warships on exhibit.
|Uncle Sam’s Museum Fleet|
|Aircraft Carriers|| 6|
|Smaller Warships|| 10|
These figures naturally exclude genuine museum pieces, such as the Frigate Constitution, the recently salvaged submersible Hunley, or the protected cruiser Olympia.
In 1939 Witold Urbanowicz, born in Poland in 1908, was a flight instructor in the Polish Air Force. When the German invasion came, he briefly led his instructors and trainee pilots against the enemy, before retreating with them to then-neutral Romania. Making his way to Britain, Urbanowicz joined the RAF and took part in the Battle of Britain. For a time commander of the RAF’s Kosciuzko Squadron, he later transferred to the newly forming Polish Air Force in exile, and commanded the Polish 1st Fighter Wing.
In 1942 Urbanowicz was as assistant air attaché to the Polish missions in the U.S. and Canada. Although he did his job well, he hankered to get back in the air. By pulling a few strings, in October of 1943 Urbanowicz began flying P-40s over China in the Fourteenth Air Force, adding yet more luster to his already impressive wartime record.
After World War II, with the Communist take-over in his native land, Urbanowicz settled in the U.S. and worked in the aviation industry. He died in 1996.
The top scoring Polish ace of World War II, he had 28 victories to his credit, on three different fronts, with service in three air forces, and a string of honors, including decorations from Poland, Britain, the U.S., and China, but he may perhaps have been proudest of his promotion to General in the Polish Air Force, conferred by Lech Walesa, the first President of post-communist Poland.