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Happy 241st Birthday, United States Army!

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The following is a guest post by Fernando O. González, who has previously had his photos featured on several blogs. Fernando is a 13-year Army Veteran currently serving as an Army Reserve Career Counselor, providing guidance and support to Army Reserve Soldiers and their families.

241st Army BirthdayJune 14th is recognized as Flag Day in the United States. While it is not a federal holiday, this observance commemorates the June 14, 1777 adoption of the American flag by the Second Continental Congress. 36 U.S. Code § 110 designates June 14th as Flag Day and requests that the President make a proclamation of observance every year. Margaret covered the history of Flag Day in greater detail in a blog post from 2012. Did you know that this date is also recognized as the United States Army’s birthday?

On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted to form ten companies of riflemen from Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland, also allocating $2,000,000 to support this newly-formed Continental Army. One day later, George Washington was selected commander-in-chief. He received his commission on June 19 and formally assumed command in Cambridge, Massachusetts on July 3, 1775.

Over the past 241 years, the U.S. Army has expanded to include a variety of specialized skills and tasks required to carry out its missions, both operational (i.e., those carrying out operations around the world) and institutional (i.e., those providing logistical support). Every soldier in the Army belongs to a branch. A soldier could be an infantryman or perhaps a logistician serving in the Quartermaster Corps. Each branch has its own distinct history while also playing a key role in ensuring the Army as a whole operates as it should. This diagram provides a visual on how the Army is organized.

I want you for U.S. Army : nearest recruiting station / James Montgomery Flagg.
I want you for U.S. Army : nearest recruiting station / James Montgomery Flagg.

The Army consists of its Active Duty component, which serves full-time, and its Reserve and National Guard components, made up primarily of soldiers serving part-time while always being ready to provide full-time support as directed. According to the 2015 Army Posture Statement, a document produced annually by the Department of the Army and presented to the United States Senate, the current target size for the Army is 980,000 soldiers – 450,000 Regular Army (i.e., Active Component), 335,000 Army National Guard, and 195,000 Army Reserve.

The Army offers a variety of events to celebrate its birthday. The Army website also offers resources and documents as well as frequently asked questions pages for more information. The Library of Congress supports all Armed Forces veterans especially through the Veterans History Project.


The opinions expressed here are the author’s, and they do not necessarily represent the official position of the United States Army.


  1. I never knew just how many people were in the Army in the US, both the permanent Army and the Reserves. There have been so many changes to the Army since it was first created all those years ago. Here’s to the years to come and the hope that it will continue to develop as an institution in line with the times and hopefully it will turn into more of a peacekeeping force than a war making one.

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