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US Army: Facts about the branch older than the country

The U.S. Army is huge.  It’s so well-equipped with personnel, in fact, that it’s the second-largest employer in the United States, behind Walmart.  Yes, you...

The U.S. Army is huge. 

It’s so well-equipped with personnel, in fact, that it’s the second-largest employer in the United States, behind Walmart. 

Yes, you read that right.

Along with its impressive manpower, the U.S. Army also has a far and wide stretch most people don’t know about — like the fact that if it were considered a city, it would be the fourth largest city in the United States.

Below we share the details of the U.S. Army’s history and most fascinating facts and stats:

U.S. Army Fact #1: The Army Owns a Ton of Land 

5th Special Forces Group helicopter(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Justin Moeller, 5th SFG(A) Public Affairs)

Overall, more than 15 million acres of land across the United States belongs to the Army. If the Army was a state, it would be the 42nd largest. Talk about dominance.

Between equipment and land, the Army owns: 

  • 4,406 manned aircraft
  • 225,000 vehicles
  • 24,000 square miles of land

As of the latest report, Fort Bragg houses 45,926 active duty soldiers!

U.S. Army Fact #2: The Army is the second largest employer in the U.S. 

Army Jingle Bell run (U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Godot G. Galgano)

The U.S. Army is one of three military branches that report to the Department of Defense and also has two distinct components: active and reserve. The reserve components include the United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. 

Here’s a look at the number of individuals (and animals!) the U.S. Army employs currently: 

  • 476,000 Regular Army personnel
  • 343,000 Army National Guard personnel
  • 199,000 Army Reserve personnel
  • 1,018,000 total uniformed personnel
  • 330,000 civilian personnel
  • 500 Military Working Dogs

U.S. Army Fact # 3: There are 13 Enlisted Ranks 

(U.S. Air Force photo/Justin Connaher)

Ranks aren’t to be confused with pay grades, which are administrative classifications for compensation across the military. Service members who are E-1 through E-3 pay grades are generally in a training status or on their initial assignment. The ‘E’ stands for “enlisted.”

Below are the 13 enlisted ranks in the Army: 

  • Private 
  • Private Second Class
  • Private First Class
  • Corporal
  • Specialist
  • Sergeant
  • Staff Sergeant
  • Sergeant First Class
  • Master Sergeant
  • First Sergeant
  • Sergeant Major
  • Command Sergeant Major
  • Sergeant Major of the Army

U.S. Army Fact #4: The “Green Uniform” is Rolling Out in 2020 

(U.S. Army photo/Staff Sgt. Justin P. Morelli)

Every so often, the military changes up uniforms. On Nov. 11, 2018, the Army announced its new Army Green Service Uniform. The uniform is still in the testing and evaluation stage but will be rolled out through July this year.

Why does the Army need a new uniform now? 

According to the U.S. Army website: “The Army is currently the only service that does not have a uniform for everyday business environments. The Green uniform will become the everyday service uniform for all Soldiers; the current Army Service Uniform will return to a more formal dress uniform role. Currently, the Army and Air Force each have one dress uniform, the Marine Corps has two dress uniforms, and the Navy has three dress uniforms.”

U.S. Army Important Dates

(Ohio National Guard Public Affairs photo/ Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Mann)

While there are a lot of important Army dates (including many battles in which American soldiers lost their lives), this is an abbreviated version that highlights early milestones. 

June 14, 1775 – The official birth of the Army through a resolution from the Continental Congress, making the U.S. Army older than the actual United States. 

June 15, 1775 – George Washington becomes Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.

Winter 1777-1778 – Army training at Valley Forge given by Prussian officer Baron von Steuben. 

August 7, 1789 – Congress created the Department of War.

Sept. 18, 1947 – The Air Force leaves the Army and becomes its own branch.

Interesting U.S. Army Facts

Army Gen. Hamilton Howze(DoD Photo courtesy of Katie Lange)

If you nerd out when it comes to facts and stats, this section is for you. Considering the Army is nearly 250 years old, it comes with quite the storied history. Below are some of the most interesting U.S. Army facts you might not know! 

  • Most U.S. Presidents with military service served in the Army.
  • Army General Francis “Swamp Fox” Marion pioneered modern guerrilla warfare tactics during the Revolutionary War.
  • The Army’s dress colors were selected by George Washington.
  • The American Turtle was the first documented submarine and was used (unsuccessfully) by the Army in the Revolutionary War.
  • The Army inspired Ray-Ban sunglasses. U.S. Army Air Corps Lieutenant General John MacCready asked the eyewear company, Bausch & Lomb to make glasses for his pilots to help reduce nausea and headaches by blocking sunlight.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (a permanent branch of the Army) mapped much of America.

Final U.S. Army Fact: Your Army Career Won’t Be Boring 

U.S. Army Golden Knights  
(U.S. Army photo/Lara Poirrier)

If you’re interested in a higher calling and serving our country, the U.S. Army can fulfill that desire — as an enlisted individual or in an officer position. Every day will be different, exciting, and rewarding. 

Want to learn more about Army life? Check out these posts:

Whether you land in active duty or reserves, serving in the military gives you life experience and professional growth you won’t find anywhere else. Check out Army job listings here

Want to learn more about Army careers? Check out our post 7 Careers on the Army Jobs List to Consider!


Feature photo courtesy of Sgt. 1st Class Randell Pike, U.S. Army

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