Armed Forces of the United States
The Armed forces of the United States are the organizations dedicated to protecting the citizens of America. There are five branches: Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force. The Constitution states that the President will be the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces.
Although America had a fighting force in the Revolutionary War called the Continental Army, this force was disbanded after the end of the war in 1781. Congress thought that having an army in peace time was not good in a free country. The Constitution did give Congress the power to set up an army, but they chose to put together several other branches of the government first.
In early August, 1979, President George Washington stated that it was necessary for them to have some kind of military for the safety of our country. He had to ask again, and finally, on September 29, Congress passed a law saying that the President could, if a need existed, call on the 'militia' of any state to give help to the country. Each state had its own military unit called a militia. Before this law was passed, a state could refuse to send its men.
Not until the Civil War did the United States have many war deaths. The Union and the Confederacy (North and South) lost a total of 618,000 men from disease and battle injuries in the Civil War. Even World War II fell below that number (405,000).
George Washington chose blue for the color of his Continental Army. Beginning in the early 1900's, khaki and brownish-green were used, to look more like mud or bushes and trees. They are said to wear a camouflage pattern now which is a random brown and green pattern.
The United States has officially declared war only 5 times in its history: The War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War and World War I and II.
The U. S. Marine Corps is a part of the U. S. Navy. It is the smallest fighting force but a highly thought of group requiring very rigorous training. It began in 1834 and has the most special duties of any branch of the military. They work closely with the Navy. In times of international crisis, the marines are the ones who are called on.
The U. S. Navy has charge of keeping the waterways around the world safe. It can also be a quick fighting force anywhere because U. S. ships are deployed around the globe. Ships, submarines and airplanes are all a part of the navy. Airplanes can take off from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier.
The U. S. Coast Guard is stationed along every water border of the country. Their mission includes Search and Rescue, Ice Breaking, Marine Safety (teaching water safety), Law Enforcement on the seas, and Port Security (keeping our harbors safe).
Flying is the most important job of the U. S. Air Force. However, only a small number of Air Force people fly. Others support them on the ground. The tasks of the Air Force include bombing, building a base, transporting cargo, maintenance of aircraft and rescue missions.
The U. S. Army carries on its mission across lands around the world. It is mainly a ground force which must be able to carry out land warfare under many different conditions and in many situations.
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