Our American Military Heroes

Our American Military Heroes

  • Army

    Without our military, America would not exist – in fact, it would never have even been born. The Army is the oldest branch of the military – it was established even before the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Army fights on land, across all types of terrain – from snow-covered mountains and dense forests to blistering hot deserts and endless valleys. Today, the Army is the largest branch of the military.

    The Army was established on June 14, 1775, by the Second Continental Congress to defend the 13 colonies from the British. Known at the time as the Continental Army, George Washington was unanimously selected as the Commander-in-Chief.

  • Navy

    In the fall of 1775, the Continental Navy was established. The navy fights on oceans that are far away and is in charge of all of the big warships. Today, some Navy ships, called aircraft carriers, are so big that there are thousands of sailors working aboard, with planes that take off and land on them.

    At the time of the Revolutionary War, Britain had the strongest navy in the world. Washington knew that a navy was critical for the success of the colonies in a war against Britain. The navy would be important to make sure that American ships – filled with goods – could make it to their destination to be sold.

    The navy would also make it harder for British ships – filled with supplies – to reach the British army in the colonies. As Washington wrote, “It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.”

  • Marines

    The third branch, the Marine Corps, was established by the Second Continental Congress on November 10, 1775. The Marine Corps is an amphibious force – meaning they operate on land and sea. They help out the other branches of the military with their missions.

    After the American victory in the Revolutionary War, the Navy and the Marine Corps dissolved. After all, paying for these forces was expensive and Britain no longer seemed to be a problem.

  • Coast Guard

    Washington knew that with all of the goods being transported along the American coastline, America would need to make sure that the law was followed. So, to enforce laws and prevent people from sneaking goods in and out of the country, which is called smuggling, George Washington established the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790. In 1915 the Revenue Cutter Service became the Coast Guard, which has a particularly unique job. The Coast Guard are the police and guardians of the sea, who have the important job of rescuing and performing life-saving missions for people who need help.

  • But even with the Coast Guard protecting America’s waters, American ships were getting attacked by pirates as they sailed across the seas. Our newly independent nation realized that the protection of Americans across the oceans of the world was needed.

    The Navy was reestablished by Congress in 1794 to fight off these pirates, and as the Navy expanded, the Marine Corps was reestablished just a few years later – in 1798.

  • Air Force

    In the early 1900s, following the Wright Brothers’ first flight, the American military took to the sky and got its first pilots. At the time, these airmen were a part of the Army.

    During World War II, the size of America’s air forces dramatically increased. The technology of airplanes had gotten much better by the time that the war began in 1939 and a significant portion of the war was fought from the air.
    Throughout World War II, the air forces were expanded and reorganized but it wasn’t until after the war ended that the Air Force was established as its own branch of the military, in 1947. The Air Force is responsible for all of the missions and operations that take place in the sky

  • Space Force

    As you can see, throughout history, the American military has developed, changed, and adapted to meet the challenges our nation faces. As humans continue to explore what lies beyond planet Earth and develop new technology that makes it possible to travel to the stars, the United States established the sixth and newest branch of the military in 2019 – the Space Force. Service members in the Space Force are called guardians. The Space Force protects space-based systems and defends American interests on earth and beyond from space.