The US Army Turns 247 in 2022
“First to fight for the right, and to build the Nation’s might, and The Army Goes Rolling Along, Proud of all we have done, Fighting till the battle’s won, and the Army Goes Rolling Along.”
On June 14th, 2022, the US Army will celebrate its 247th birthday! According to Statista, as of 2019, there are 479,785 serving in the active duty Army, 336,392 serving in the Army National Guard, and 282,884 serving in the Army Reserve. The US Army has fought in every war since the Revolutionary War.
The History of the US Army
The Army was established on June 14th, 1775 as the Continental Army that could represent all 13 colonies. It was considered America’s first national institution.
George Washington was selected as the first Commander in Chief in 1775, and in 1776, with the Declaration of Independence, the Continental Army and the militia became known as the Army of the United States. In 1784, after the Revolutionary War, congress ordered the last Continental Army to disband and the remaining soldiers were discharged. It did retain two companies which became the 1st American Regiment for national service.
In 1789, the Department of War was created. In 1798, congress created the “Provisional Army” of 10,000 men, and in 1799, they created the “Eventual Army” of 30,000 men.
When the Civil War started, the Confederate States formed the Confederate States Army and the Union, the Union Army. After the Civil War, the US Army had the mission of containing western tribes of Native Americans on the Indian Reservations. They also occupied several Southern states to protect freedmen during the reconstruction era.
The US joined WWI in 1917 and US troops were sent to the Western Front. After the Armistice in 1918, the Army decreased its forces. By 1939, the Army had between 174,000-200,000 soldiers and worked to expand and modernize in order to prepare for war. They joined World War II in December of 1941, where 11 million Americans served in different Army operations.
The Total Force Policy was adopted after the Vietnam War which treated the regular Army, the Army National Guard, and the Army Reserve as a single force.
The National Guard’s birthday is actually December 13th, 1636, which was the date the first militia regiments in North America were organized in Massachusetts. The widespread use of the name “National Guard” didn’t happen until after the Civil War. It was in 1933 that Congress amended the National Defense Act with the creation of the National Guard of the US, a separate reserve component of the US Army. The Army Reserve was created on April 23, 1908.
It is also important to note that the Air Force was once a part of the US Army, until 1947 when it became its own branch.
Famous People Who Have Served in the US Army
When it comes to US Presidents, 16 of them have served in the Army, either the Continental Army, the regular Army, or the Army Reserve. Harry Truman served in the Army National Guard.
And the most famous person to have served in the US Army was Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Rock. Elvis served in the US Army from March of 1958 to March of 1960. He was stationed in Germany after training at Fort Hood. He chose to serve as a regular soldier instead of being a part of the service club. He was awarded the Army Good Conduct Medal.
Within the enlisted branch of the Army, you find the ranks E-1 to E-9. They are:
- Private E-1
- Private Second Class E-2
- Private Third Class E-3
- Specialist E-4
- Corporal E-4
- Sergeant E-5
- Staff Sergeant E-6
- Sergeant First Class E-7
- Master Sergeant E-8
- First Sergeant E-8
- Sergeant Major E-9
- Command Sergeant Major E-9
- Sergeant Major of the Army E-9
Within the Warrant Officer branch, you find these ranks:
- Warrant Officer W01
- Chief Warrant Officer 2 CW2
- Chief Warrant Officer 3 CW3
- Chief Warrant Officer 4 CW4
- Chief Warrant Officer 5 CW5
Within the officer branch of the Army, you find the ranks O-1 to O-10. They are:
- Second Lieutenant O-1
- First Lieutenant O-2
- Captain O-3
- Major O-4
- Lieutenant Colonel O-5
- Colonel O-6
- Brigadier General O-7
- Major General O-8
- Lieutenant General O-9
- General O-10
Military Installations within the Army are called Posts vs Bases and the Exchange is called the PX. You can find Army installations in over 30 US states. They also have OCONUS locations in 10 areas or countries around the world, including Alaska, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. The largest Army installations are Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Fort Campbell in Kentucky, and Fort Hood in Texas.
Scholarships for Army Service Members, Veterans, and Spouses
- Army Tuition Assistance – offering up to a max of $4,000 a year.
- Army Women’s Foundation Legacy Scholarship – offering up to $2,500 a year.
- Green Beret Foundation Scholarship – where the amount of the award varies.
- 82nd Airborne Division Association Education Fund – with a max of $2,000 per year.
- F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program – with a $2,200 a month stipend and $20,000 sign-on bonus.
- Army Nurse Corps Association Scholarship (ANCA) – with a $3,000 award.
- HIP Pocket Scholarship – covers full tuition, provides a book and supply stipend of $1,200, and supplies a monthly living expense of $420 for up to 10 months per year.
Visit our Army Scholarships for College page for more information.
Top Army Veteran Businesses
- Combat Flip Flops was started by Matthew Griffin and Donald Lee, who both served as Army Rangers. Their company sells men’s and women’s flip flops as well as other footwear and accessories. They have a big focus on charities that help women in Afghanistan.
- Black Rifle Coffee was founded by former Green Beret, Evan Hafer. He started selling coffee through a friend’s apparel website. They specialize in mail-order coffee but also have coffee shops and retail locations.
- Millie was started by Ken Robbins and Jason Dempsey, who have both served in the Army. Millie is an online community and digital marketplace that connects members of the military and their families to help with the stress that comes with a military move.
- Veterans Day Discounts
- 5 Military Spouse-Owned Businesses
- Veteran-owned Distilleries and Breweries
- Veteran-Owned Businesses
About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.