Every year, young Americans consider serving their country in the military. But just very few of them know anything about this great institution. If trends hold steady, more than 79,000 people will walk into recruiting stations this year. And to help them, I’ve created this article with some things you might or might not already know about the Army.
It is older than our country
The birth of the nation is on the 4th of July, 1776. However, the Army can be considered the country’s “big brother.” This is true because the Continental Army of 1775, led by the future President George Washington, was formed before Thomas Jefferson could write the Declaration of Independence.
Colonists were organized into some sort of rag-tag militias with no actual structure or even a unified chain of command. Things changed on June 14, 1775, in Boston, through a resolution from the Continental Congress.
Most presidents wore the uniform
Twenty-four out of all the presidents of the nation served in the Army. Of those, 23 were officers. Teddy Roosevelt is the only president to date to have been awarded the prized Medal of Honor, albeit posthumously.
There even are some celebrities who have joined its ranks. Figures such as Elvis, Humphrey Bogart, and Johnny Carson have made headlines, but they are not the only ones to do have done so, as some had served the country before they made it to the big screen.
It is our second-largest employer
The Army doesn’t kid around. With more than 2.2 million people on the payroll, Walmart is the only corporation that’s larger than this huge part of our country. The Army holds the second spot since it has more than 1 million active-duty and reserve members.
While severe budget cuts brought the actual number of soldiers in uniform down in 2015, to the round amount of 1,042,200, our Army still beats the next-largest employer, Yum Brands, which has somewhere around 523,000 employees.
Also, Army bases and all the other Army-owned properties, which are scattered across the country, add up to around 24,000 square miles of land. If you were to combine them in one area and declare it a US state, it would be our 42nd-largest state, after West Virginia.
Sea life and the Army
This next fact sounds like it is taken straight out of a futuristic SF novel, but it is true. For humans, there’s the minimum age limit of 18 required to enlist, but there are no actual limits regarding age or even species for non-humans to work for the US military force.
The US Navy Marine Mammal Program, a more underground division, utilizes the advanced intelligence, behavioral traits and training capability of dolphins and sea lions to perform secret tasks such as ship and harbor protection, more delicate missions such as equipment recovery, and in some instances, even mine detection and clearance.