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The Military of the United States

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The military of the United States of America, officially known as the United States of America Armed Forces, consists of five of the seven federal uniform services: the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force, and the United States Coast Guard. Approximately 1.4 million personnel are currently on active duty in the military, with an additional 1,359,000 personnel in the seven reserve components. The Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military is the President of the United States. With a strength of 2.26 million personnel, including reserves, the United States Armed Forces are the second-largest in the world, after the People's Liberation Army of China, and have troops deployed around the globe. As in most militaries, members of the U.S. Armed Forces hold a rank, either that of officer or enlisted, and can be promoted.

State Defense Forces are militia units operating under the sole authority of a state government or governor, and are distinct from the National Guard in that they are not federal military forces. Authorized by state and federal law, State Defense Forces as a whole "may not be called, ordered, or drafted into the armed forces" (of the United States) under 32 U.S.C. § 109 however the subsection further states that individuals serving in the State Defense Forces are not exempt from conscription. Including Puerto Rico, approximately twenty-five states have active State Defense Forces that can be called upon during emergency management and homeland security missions.

United States Department of Defense Seal.svg

The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is the Cabinet organization that controls the U.S. military, headquartered at the Pentagon. The Secretary of Defense also oversees the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, and civilian agencies such as the Inspector General, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. The DoD is the largest employer in the United States.

Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, MMA-NYC, 1851.jpg

The military history of the United States spans a period of over two centuries, during which the United States grew from an alliance of thirteen British colonies without a professional military, to the world's sole remaining military superpower as of 2012.

The history of the United States military begins in civilian frontiersmen, armed for hunting and basic survival in the wilderness that were organized into local militias for small military operations, mostly against Native American tribes but also to resist possible raids by the small military forces of neighboring European colonies.

U.S. military news

The Black Beret and ACU uniform

Uniform changes by Army uniform board

After polling Army personnel for input, the Army's uniform board has instituted several changes to the Army's attire. First and foremost, the Black Beret will be relegated to the Army's service dress uniform. Velcro is also being made optional for some closures. Soldiers will be provided the chance to sew patches to their uniform.

The beret has been the standard headgear for the Army Combat Uniform since June 2001. The beret is worn on base and for ceremonies while the patrol cap is worn in the field. Soldiers disliked the beret for its nonexistent practical purpose and the redundancy of having to carry both a beret and hat at all times. “The [ACU] signifies a uniform that should be worn in combat or training for combat, yet a beret doesn’t even make the cut on the deployment packing list,” said one NCO. The Army will now issue only one beret to each soldier for a cost savings of $6.5 million over the lifecycle of the ACU.

Soldiers will still wear their berets with their Army Service Uniform. Soldiers are pleased overall with the appearance of the beret on the ASU. The change does not effect Special Forces soldiers such as the Army Special Forces who wear distinctive Green Berets.

Velcro replaced buttons on the digital ACU replacement for the BDU. Velcro was received as being too noisy, messy, and unprofessional looking by early users after the new ACU uniform was adopted by the Army. Soldiers voiced their opposition to velcro to the Army's Uniform board earlier this year prior to the decision.


Sources: AT:Beret going away?,AT:Army dumps Beret,ANS:Velcro optional, Patrol Cap default
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B-17 on bomb run.jpg

The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber aircraft developed for the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 planes, the airplane outperformed both the other entries and the Air Corps' expectations. Although losing the contract due to an accident, the Air Corps was so in favor of the B-17 that they ordered 13 B-17s regardless. Evolving through numerous design stages, from B-17A to G, the Flying Fortress is considered the first truly mass-produced large aircraft. From its pre-war inception, the USAAC touted the aircraft as a strategic weapon; it was a high-flying, long-ranging potent bomber capable of defending itself. With the ability to return home despite extensive battle damage, its durability, especially in belly-landings and ditchings, quickly took on mythical proportions.

The B-17 was primarily involved in the daylight precision strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial targets. The United States Eighth Air Force based in England and the Fifteenth Air Force based in Italy complemented the RAF Bomber Command's night-time area bombing in Operation Pointblank, which helped secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for Operation Overlord. The B-17 also participated, to a lesser extent, in the War in the Pacific.

Selected pictures

Korean War, train attack.jpg
Credit: army.mil
U.S. forces target rail cars south of Wonsan, North Korea.

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Equipment

M252 mortar usmc.jpg

The M252 81 mm medium weight Mortar is an American smooth bore, muzzle-loading, high-angle-of-fire weapon used for long-range indirect fire support to light infantry, air assault, and airborne units across the entire front of a battalion zone of influence. In the US Army and US Marine Corps, it is normally deployed in the mortar platoon of an infantry battalion.

Units and awards

Selected biography

Admiral Farragut2.jpg

David Glasgow Farragut (July 5, 1801 – August 14, 1870) was the first senior officer of the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. He was the first rear admiral, vice admiral, and full admiral of the Navy. He is remembered in popular culture for his possibly apocryphal order at the Battle of Mobile Bay, usually paraphrased: "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!".

David Farragut entered the Navy as a midshipman on December 17, 1810. In the War of 1812, when only 12 years old, he was given command of a prize ship taken by USS Essex and brought her safely to port. Admiral Farragut's last active service was in command of the European Squadron, with the screw frigate Franklin as his flagship, and he died at the age of 69 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Bronx, New York.

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