June 14 is Flag Day, which also means the United States Army is another year older. Here are ten things you may not have known about our 239-year-old Army.
1. It’s older than the US.
The American Revolution was fought right here in Massachusetts by the country’s first militias in 1775. After several major battles were fought, a measure to create The Army’s unified command structure passed on June 14, 1775. While George Washington led our Army in 1775, The United States of America was not an independent nation until 1776.
2. It’s huge.
The size of the US Army peaked a few years ago at about 570,000 active duty soldiers. Reserve and National Guard soldiers accounted for at least another 500,000 members, which put the total number of men and women in the Army over 1 million.
3. The Army now has astronauts.
NASA selects soldiers to join them in space exploration efforts. In 2013, Major Anne McClain and Major Andrew R. Morgan were selected as astronaut candidates and joined the Army Forces Strategic Command’s NASA Detachment in Houston, Texas. They also get to wear astronaut “wings” on their uniform.
4. Many celebrities and most of our presidents have worn the Army uniform.
Celebrities who have served in the Army include Ice-T, Mel Brooks, Tom Selleck, Mickey Rooney, Hugh Hefner, and Tony Bennett.
Most of our 43 presidents have also served with the Army: 24 to be exact, including Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan.
5. We can thank them for exploring and mapping most of the country.
The Lewis and Clark Expedition was an Army affair, and Army officials were the first Americans to see national landmarks like the Grand Canyon and Pike’s Peak.
6. The Air Force was part of the Army until 1946.
Originally called the Army Air Corps, the US Air Force existed within the Army for 16 years.
7. Their official song was the last one to be adopted by a military service.
“The Army Goes Rolling Along” became the Army song in 1956.
8. Special Forces are everywhere.
SF Counterterrorism responds to terroristic threats all over the world and aims to prevent terrorist groups from forming. In 2012 the Special Forces Command Public Affairs Office reported that U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers had deployed to 135 of the 195 recognized countries in the last decade.
9. Army equipment is some of the most advanced technology in the world.
From aircraft to ground vehicles, our Army has the best technical support available.
The Apache Longbow is the Army’s primary attack helicopter, followed by the UH-60 Black Hawk, which is used for both assault and transport. Referred to as their “workhorse,” a Chinook helicopter can transport up to 50 troops and carry up to 26,000 pounds from its main hook.
Down on the ground, the M1 Abrams tank is the Army’s principal combat tank and offers quite a bit of firepower. Each one costs about $9 million, operates under all weather, and “provides nuclear, biological, and chemical survivability.”
10. If you don’t already follow them on Twitter, you’re missing out.
From throw-back photos to live-streams of official Pentagon Channel broadcasts, they tweet everything Army. They even shared this gem on National Donut Day: World War I soldiers frying donuts — in their helmets, of course.
They’re also tweeting to celebrate their 239th birthday: