Military Beginnings

ARMY—Government officially created the Army on the 3rd of June, 1784, basing its roots on the Continental Army created on the 14th of June, 1775. Settlers moving into what was Indian territories caused the government to create the Legion of the United States which went from 1791 until 1796.

The War of 1812 was the first test of our military after the British burned our capital. The new nation did not have the strength or organization of the English but proved itself with victories in the Niagara campaign of 1814. The American defeat of the British in the Battle of New Orleans gave warning to other nations that the U.S. could field a credible combat force.

NAVY—While the Continental Navy first server our nation, it was trouble far from our shores that caused the U.S. Navy to be born. Pirates along the Barbary Coast gave Congress the impetus to build and rig six naval frigates. Coincidentally, this area of conflict was the first time Marines left their ships and attacked the enemy on foreign soil.

During the Mexican-American war our navy ships blockaded Mexican ports. The Civil War again expanded the use of a Naval force when northern ships blockaded Confederate ports.

The Spanish American war was the first time the US Navy gained global attention when Spanish ships were destroyed in the Philippines and gave fame to the phrase, “You may fire when ready, Gridley”.

MARINES—The Continental Marines were formed 1775 as Naval Infantry. Not only could Marines be used during ship to ship battles by firing rifles at the adversary, boarding enemy vessels and could be put ashore and used as a land force such as they did in Tripoli.

The advent of amphibious assaults became a mainstay of the Marines, especially in the Pacific theater of World War II. Today the Marine Corp carries a mystique of power and accomplishment. My Father-in-law, a WW II marine, served in California maintaining the Corsair aircraft. Just before he was to board a ship for the South Pacific, the war against Japan ended.

AIR FORCE—The US Air Force cannot claim the legendary roots like the Army and Marines can. Its simply because the invention of the airplane was not achievable until the first years of the 1900’s.
Early military use of aircraft was for observation purposes. In World War I aircraft from both sides would fly over the battlefield and report enemy troop movements. It wasn’t long before pilots and their observer passenger were carrying guns and took pot-shots at each other. Then small bombs, dropped from the aircraft, became the harbinger of how the aircraft might best be used.

It wasn’t long before aircraft mounted machine guns and had sizeable bombs strapped to their undersides. The era of the modern air war had begun.

Aircraft post-World War I became faster, could fly higher and had more lethal weapons as time passed. Today’s Air Force has the latest in speed and stealth capabilities.

COAST GUARD—The Coast Guard can trace its roots to the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790. The Department of Defense authorizes the Guard to conduct military actions or for the President.

The Coast Guard was officially given its in January, 1915 and has fulfilled it’s role as guardian of America’s shores and has come to the rescue of many a stranded ship or pleasure craft on open waters. In February, 2003, due to the new threats facing America from radical terror groups, the Coast Guard was placed under the auspices of the Department of Homeland Security.