Thursday, June 14, 2018

Happy 243rd Birthday to the U.S. Army

June 14th marks the 243rd birthday of the United States Army, when in 1775, the fledging Continental Congress authorized the enlistment of riflemen to serve the 13 United Colonies for a period of one year. In the beginning, Congress authorized only ten (10) companies of riflemen, called Colonialists, and these were the first forces directly raised by Congress as opposed to the militias created by the respective States.

In a move designed to give a inclusionary look to the fledging colonial Army and broaden support across the colonies, Congressional delegate John Adams of Massachusetts, pushed to have a Commander chosen from one of the Southern colonies, and on 15 June 1995, Congress unanimously chose George Washington from Virginia. Washington had been a key participant in the military planning committees of Congress, and known for his experience in the French and Indian War. Congress gave Washington the charter to proceed to Massachusetts and take charge of the Army of the United Colonies and capture or destroy all armed enemies. His was also to prepare and to send to Congress an accurate strength return of that army.

The Infantry Branch was created. de facto, by virtue of Congress approving the raising on ten companies of riflemen on 14 June 1775 and constituted on 3 June 1784, as the First American Regiment, hence the Infantry Branch is the oldest branch of the US Army. Other branches of the Army and their dates of creation.

Adjutant General's Corps, 16 June 1775. The post of Adjutant General was established 16 June 1775, and has been continuously in operation since that time. The Adjutant General's Department, by that name, was established by the act of 3 March 1813, and was re-designated the Adjutant General's Corps in 1950.

Corps of Engineers, 16 June 1775. Continental Congress authority for a "Chief Engineer for the Army" dates from 16 June 1775. A corps of Engineers for the United States was authorized by the Congress on 11 March 1779. The Corps of Engineers as it is known today came into being on 16 March 1802, when the President was authorized to "organize and establish a Corps of Engineers ... that the said Corps ... shall be stationed at West Point in the State of New York and shall constitute a Military Academy." A Corps of Topographical Engineers, authorized on 4 July 1838, was merged with the Corps of Engineers in March 1863.

Finance Corps, 16 June 1775. The Finance Corps is the successor to the old Pay Department, which was created in June 1775. The Finance Department was created by law on 1 July 1920. It became the Finance Corps in 1950.

Quartermaster Corps, 16 June 1775. The Quartermaster Corps, originally designated the Quartermaster Department, was established on 16 June 1775. While numerous additions, deletions, and changes of function have occurred, its basic supply and service support functions have continued in existence.

Army Medical Department, 27 July 1775. The Army Medical Department and the Medical Corps trace their origins to 27 July 1775, when the Continental Congress established the Army hospital headed by a "Director General and Chief Physician." Congress provided a medical organization of the Army only in time of war or emergency until 1818, which marked the inception of a permanent and continuous Medical Department. The Army Nurse Corps dates from 1901, the Dental Corps from 1911, the Veterinary Corps from 1916, the Medical Service Corps from 1917, and the Army Medical Specialist Corps from 1947. The Army Organization Act of 1950 renamed the Medical Department as the Army Medical Service. On 4 June 1968, the Army Medical Service was re-designated the Army Medical Department.

Chaplains, 29 July 1775. The legal origin of the Chaplains is found in a resolution of the Continental Congress, adopted 29 July 1775, which made provision for the pay of chaplains. The Office of the Chief of Chaplains was created by the National Defense Act of 1920.

Judge Advocate General's Corps, 29 July 1775. The Office of Judge Advocate of the Army may be deemed to have been created on 29 July 1775, and has generally paralleled the origin and development of the American system of military justice. The Judge Advocate General's Department, by that name, was established in 1884. Its present designation as a corps was enacted in 1948.

Air Defense Artillery and Field Artillery, 17 November 1775. The Continental Congress unanimously elected Henry Knox "Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery" on 17 November 1775. The regiment formally entered service on 1 January 1776.

Armor (Cavalry), 12 December 1776. The Armor branch traces its origin to the Cavalry. A regiment of cavalry was authorized to be raised by the Continental Congress Resolve of 12 December 1776. Although mounted units were raised at various times after the Revolution, the first in continuous service was the United States Regiment of Dragoons, organized in 1833. The Tank Service was formed on 5 March 1918. The Armored Force was formed on 10 July 1940. Armor became a permanent branch of the Army in 1950.

Ordnance Corps, 14 May 1812. The Ordnance Department was established by act of Congress on 14 May 1812. During the Revolutionary War, ordnance material was under supervision of the Board of War and Ordnance. Numerous shifts in duties and responsibilities have occurred in the Ordnance Corps since colonial times. It acquired its present designation in 1950.

Signal Corps, 21 June 1860. The Signal Corps was authorized as a separate branch of the Army by act of Congress on 3 March 1863. However, the Signal Corps dates its existence from 21 June 1860, when Congress authorized the appointment of one signal officer in the Army, and a War Department order carried the following assignment: "Signal Department—Assistant Surgeon Albert J. Myer to be Signal Officer, with the rank of Major, 27 June 1860, to fill an original vacancy."

Chemical Corps, 28 June 1918. The Chemical Warfare Service was established on 28 June 1918, combining activities that until then had been dispersed among five separate agencies of Government. It was made a permanent branch of the Regular Army by the National Defense Act of 1920. In 1945, it was redesignated the Chemical Corps.

Military Police Corps, 26 September 1941. A Provost Marshal General's Office and Corps of Military Police were established in 1941. Prior to that time, except during the Civil War and World War I, there was no regularly appointed Provost Marshal General or regularly constituted Military Police Corps, although a "Provost Marshal" can be found as early as January 1776, and a "Provost Corps" as early as 1778.

Transportation Corps, 31 July 1942. The historical background of the Transportation Corps starts with World War I. Prior to that time, transportation operations were chiefly the responsibility of the Quartermaster General. The Transportation Corps, essentially in its present form, was organized on 31 July 1942.

Civil Affairs, 17 August 1955. The Civil Affairs/Military Government Branch in the Army Reserve Branch was established on 17 August 1955. Subsequently re-designated the Civil Affairs Branch on 2 October 1959, it has continued its mission to provide guidance to commanders in a broad spectrum of activities ranging from host-guest relationships to the assumption of executive, legislative, and judicial processes in occupied or liberated areas.

Military Intelligence, 1 July 1962. Intelligence has been an essential element of Army operations during war as well as during periods of peace. In the past, requirements were met by personnel from the Army Intelligence and Army Security Reserve branches, two-year obligated tour officers, one-tour levies on the various branches, and Regular Army officers in the specialization programs. To meet the Army's increased requirement for national and tactical intelligence, an Intelligence and Security Branch was established in the Army effective 1 July 1962, by General Orders No. 38, 3 July 1962. On 1 July 1967, the branch was re-designated as Military Intelligence.

Aviation, 12 April 1983. Following the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service in 1947, the Army began to develop further its own aviation assets (light planes and rotary wing aircraft) in support of ground operations. The Korean War gave this drive impetus, and the war in Vietnam saw its fruition, as Army aviation units performed a variety of missions, including reconnaissance, transport, and fire support. After the war in Vietnam, the role of armed helicopters as tank destroyers received new emphasis. In recognition of the growing importance of aviation in Army doctrine and operations, Aviation became a separate branch on 12 April 1983, and a full member of the Army's combined arms team.

Special Forces, 9 April 1987. The first Special Forces unit in the Army was formed on 11 June 1952, when the 10th Special Forces Group was activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. A major expansion of Special Forces occurred during the 1960s, with a total of eighteen groups organized in the Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. As a result of renewed emphasis on special operations in the 1980s, the Special Forces Branch was established as a basic branch of the Army effective April 9, 1987, by General Orders No. 35, 19 June 1987.

So it would be appropriate to raise a glass to the United States Army today - without it, this country would not exist. But also remember that the Army is comprised of men and woman from diverse backgrounds and beliefs, but share one common principal and that is stepping up to pledge their life to defense of the principles that founded this country, the greatest country history has known.

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