Happy Birthday to the U.S. Army

Celebrating 242 Years of Service

Army-BDAYFrom its humble beginning, the U.S. Army has always been there to fight for freedom and protect the people of America. In fact, the Army is older than the country it serves – George Washington took command on July 3, 1775, with the Declaration of Independence still about a year away.

Today, June 14, marks its 242nd birthday. Here’s a word from John R. Maass, a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, about its creation:

When the American Revolution broke out, the rebellious colonies did not possess an army in the modern sense. Rather, the revolutionaries fielded an amateur force of colonial troops, cobbled together from various New England militia companies. They had no unified chain of command, and although Artemas Ward of Massachusetts exercised authority by informal agreement, officers from other colonies were not obligated to obey his orders. The American volunteers were led, equipped, armed, paid for, and supported by the colonies from which they were raised. 

In the spring of 1775, this “army” was about to confront British troops near Boston, Massachusetts. The revolutionaries had to re-organize their forces quickly if they were to stand a chance against Britain’s seasoned professionals. Recognizing the need to enlist the support of all of the American seaboard colonies, the Massachusetts Provincial Congress appealed to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia to assume authority for the New England army. Reportedly, at John Adams’ request, Congress voted to “adopt” the Boston troops on June 14, although there is no written record of this decision.  Also on this day, Congress resolved to form a committee “to bring in a draft of rules and regulations for the government of the Army,” and voted $2,000,000 to support the forces around Boston, and those at New York City. Moreover, Congress authorized the formation of ten companies of expert riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia, which were directed to march to Boston to support the New England militia.

George Washington received his appointment as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army the next day, and formally took command at Boston on July 3, 1775. 

Today we celebrate not only the institution itself, but all the brave soldiers who’ve fought with valor and purpose throughout history to maintain the freedoms we so often take for granted. In the modern Army, there are more than one million people serving between active-duty soldiers and members of the National Guard and Reserve components. Each of them deserves recognition and our most sincere thanks for their service and sacrifice.

The Army famously shares its birthday with another interesting holiday steeped in military history – today is also Flag Day. The video below showcases some of the more interesting and unique flags throughout history. You can also check out our accompanying infographic for more details.

Jake Butler

About the author: Jake Butler

Jake Butler is a staff writer at Pioneer Services who understands the challenges facing modern military families. He writes informative and entertaining pieces about military life, financial education and everything in between. Follow Jake on Google+.

Contact: Jake Butler

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