Celebrating Armed Forces Week: Part I – Our “Senior Services”

Armed Forces Day: Info and History

Armed Forces Week: Mid-May

Strictly speaking, it’s called Armed Forces Day, and we celebrate it on the 3rd Saturday of May each year. The DoD webpage describes the celebration with typical military succinctness:

On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.

Many communities, agencies, and organizations celebrate Armed Forces Week, honoring our men and women in uniform, as do we here @ Paracord Paul. Starting today, our annual Armed Services Week sale includes all of our Service Medal and Military Branch Tag bracelets being discounted through the 18th.

Unlike our Canadian friends up north, however, each of our Armed Forces — despite the aforementioned “unification” — still maintains its distinct traditions and jealously guards its heritage with single-minded pride.

There has been some consolidation in the Armed Forces over the years — supply procurement, active duty, retired pay administration, etc. However, be careful not to confuse U.S. Navy sailors with members of the Coast Guard or U.S. Army soldiers with Marines. And never, ever refer to a U.S. Air Force man or woman as a soldier!

In honor of Armed Forces Week, I’ve written a 2-part outline of the origins of our five armed services. This week, I’ll review the two “senior services” — the Army and Navy. Next week, I’ll highlight the remaining three, including my favorite, the United States Air Force.

The United States Army (est. June 14, 1775)

Our first Army was a militia of volunteers cobbled together in New England and whipped into shape by Southerner George Washington. Read about how the Army started on the Army’s web page, June 14: The Birthday of the U.S. Army.

The U. S. Army has served our country continuously since a full year before our Declaration of Independence. The greatest American who ever lived drove our first citizen soldiers to victory as its first commander-in-chiefAfter; after that, General Washington became President Washington and seemed to do everything right the first time.

The United States Navy (est. October 13, 1775)

Like the Army, the Navy traces its origins to our Revolutionary War. According to the Naval History website, our fledgling Continental Congress established the Navy:

…by authorizing the procurement, fitting out, manning, and dispatch of two armed vessels to cruise in search of munitions ships supplying the British Army in America.

After the Revolutionary War, Congress sold off the remaining additional ships and discharged their sailors, and for about nine years, our country was without a sea service. In 1794, however, the new federal Congress authorized the construction and crewing of six new frigates, and the Navy was back in business.

Read Part II: Celebrating Armed Forces Week — Part II. The Marines, Coast Guard, and my favorite, the United States Air Force!