The Senior Military Service Sends Its Regards . . .

| June 12, 2014

. . . and best wishes to the more junior military services:  the US Navy, US Marine Corps, US Coast Guard, and US Air Force.

The occasion?  This Saturday, we will celebrate 239th anniversary of the establishment of the USA’s first military service – the US Army.

The US Army was established on 14 June 1775.  On that date, the Continental Congress authorized the enlistment of riflemen to serve for a period of one year.  It is the senior US military service.

The official birthdays of the other US military services are as follows:

  • US Navy – 13 October 1775
  • USMC – 10 November 1775
  • US Coast Guard – 4 August 1790
  • US Air Force – 18 September 1947

The US Army, US Navy, and USMC each are older than the USA itself.  All three of these services trace their history to events predating the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the US Constitution.  Each was established within 7 months of the first shots of the American Revolution at Lexington and Concord – the US Army, within 2 months.

“This We’ll Defend.”  That rather sums up 239 years of history quite nicely.


Category: Big Army, Historical

Comments (80)

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  1. CB Senior says:

    I have my popcorn ready because I know the Marines are not going to stand for being Call the Junior Serice.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      I’ll bring the beer… should be interesting, to say the least

    • CB Senior says:


    • Hondo says:

      Hey, CB Senior – sorry, but they are. They were born third, and are thus Uncle Sam’s third military son.

      That Uncle Sam fella was one randy SOB back in the 1770s – 3 kids born within 5 months. And each turned out to be pretty ornery, too. (smile)

    • USMCE8Ret says:

      My applause. The Army has served with distinction these 239 years. Without it, the country wouldn’t be the great nation it is. I recognize we all have different missions, and I have been privledged to have served among some great Army types.

    • USMC Steve says:

      I freely acknowledge we are junior to the Army by birth date. I would point out regarding the Navy that there is some confusion about their birth date though. I am not sure where that confusion arises but I have heard from reliable sources two different dates for them.

  2. GunzRunner says:

    Happy Birthday Army.

    While we are part of The Department of the Navy, we’re the Men’s Department.



    • CB Senior says:

      Holy Shit, did you just go there. We were defending you and we are repayed by shit flinging.
      Mens Dept?

      Happy Birthday Army.

      John, I think we will need an open thread to correct a few misconceptions. Or just a good Ole’ Fashioned shit slinging, GI ball busting.

    • Hondo says:

      You guys in the USMC might want to think twice about needling the USN, GunzRunner.

      I understand it’s a helluva long swim from the midway point between Oahu and Okinawa to the nearest land. (smile)

  3. David says:

    C’mon, everyone likes the Marines and should own at least one.

  4. MrBill says:


  5. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Happy B Day.

    Go Navy Beat Army!

    • Atkron says:

      …and the junior Service says we’ll see you for win number 13 (in a row) later this year.

      GO NAVY!

  6. Kinda old ET1 says:

    Happy Birthday Army.

    I do have a question though, what’s up with the red smurf hat in the upper center of the Army seal?

    • Hondo says:

      Kinda old ET1: “Smurf cap”? Hardly. That’s the Phrygian cap, often called the Cap of Liberty. It dates from classical antiquity.

      By the late Roman Republic, it was considered a symbol of freedom from tyranny. At the time of the American and French Revolutions, it was regarded as a revolutionary icon and symbol of freedom.

      It was widely used as such in many other revolutions in the Americas after the American Revolution. Today, it is found on the coats of arms of Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, and on the reverse side of the flag of Paraguay on the Seal of the Paraguayan Supreme Court.

      The Phyrgian cap was featured on early US coins as Lady Liberty’s headdress, and is featured on the US Army’s seal, flag, and the flag of the US Senate.

    • Stacy0311 says:

      It’s a “jimmy hat” because you know sooner or later, the Army’s gonna fuck up and need protection……

      • MAJMike says:

        Don’t speak too loudly. One of Perfumed Princes in the 5-sided trash bin may want to issue us all new hats.

        • USMC Steve says:

          Naaah… Shinseki is out screwing up the VA now…wait he got shitcanned from that too.

  7. Mr Wolf says:

    I’ve always heard that the Army invents it, the Navy steals it, and the Marines claim to make it better. The Air Force just ignores it.

  8. 2/17 Air Cav says:

  9. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    That didn’t work out as planned. Damn Navy sabotage.

  10. Poohbah, Lord High Everything Else says:

    Well, we Marines are only the junior service because we were too busy killing Redcoats to lobby Congress for a charter.

    JUST FUNNIN’ YA! :o)

    Happy birthday, Army!

    • MAJMike says:

      Hey! We 11Bravo guys gotta admire any unit founded in a bar!!

      We’ll be toasting Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children in November!!

  11. USMCE3TLCPL says:

    Lol we may be younger but hey, we’re like the lil brother that grows up to be meaner and tougher… But happy birthday to the old man of the branches

    • Hondo says:

      Do I really need to remind you which service commanded the eight largest US amphibious operations in World War II – only one of which to my knowledge had any USMC units that landed? (Operations Torch, Husky, Avalanche, Shingle, Overlord, Anvil, Philippines (multiple) and Iceberg [conducted under the command of the 10th US Army].) Or that the Army had more troops at the Battle of Okinawa than did the USMC; provided more total troops in the Pacific; recaptured the Philippines; and suffered more KIA and WIA in the Pacific than did the USMC?

      The USMC has a great PR department, and you Marines are damn good at what you do. But you hardly win wars by yourself – not even World War II in the Pacific.

      The USMC got the glory for the Pacific Theater. But to be blunt: the US Army did more of the “heavy lifting” on the ground, even in that theater.

      • Stacy0311 says:

        I’ve always liked the “the Army did more amphibious assaults than the Marines” argument.
        the rebuttal goes something like:
        1. True, but the Marines did ALL of their amphibious assaults with the SAME 6 divisions.
        2. It’s a matter of scale. 8,000,000 soldiers vs 600,000 Marines.
        3. Who taught the Army how to do amphibious ops?

        • Hondo says:

          Stacy0311: gee, you’d think you guys would learn with that much practice. (smile)

          And actually, it was more like 9,000,000 soldiers that were ground troops. If I recall correctly, the Army’s peak strength was around 12.1M, with around 3.1M in the Army Air Forces. Of that 12.1M, about 37% – or roughly 4.47M – were deployed to the Pacific. That total includes Army Air Forces in the Pacific.

          In the Pacific, the Army probably did lean on the USMC for amphibious expertise – although as I recall neither service had done any true large-scale (divisional or larger) amphibious operations before Torch (I believe the Guadalcanal landings were made with forces smaller than a division, then reinforced). So I’m guessing both services were pretty much learning by trial and error as much as from past experience.

          However, in Europe/Africa, the Army developed its amphibious doctrine working directly with the Navy and UK military. Perhaps you’ve heard of guys named Truscott, Patton, Hewitt, and Mountebatten?

          • Stacy0311 says:

            I’ll see your Truscott, Patton et al. and raise you a Pete Ellis and Culebra.
            And Guadacanal was a division level amphibious landing (not technically an ‘assault’) where the Navy left the Marines hanging. Thanks ADM Fletcher! squids smh

            • Hondo says:

              Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think Ellis had anything to do with amphibious operations or doctrine in the Med or Europe during World War II. Ditto for the interwar amphibious training exercises at Culebra.

              My point was that in the European-African Theater, the Army developed it’s own amphibious doctrine and practices, working directly with the Navy and UK. In the ETO, they didn’t depend on the USMC for that expertise whatsoever.

              And in both the EATO and Pacific, all of the large amphibious operations were essentially OJT efforts. The US had simply not conducted any amphibious operations of that scope or scale before “for record”.

              • Stacy0311 says:

                Tentative Manual for Landing Operation>Fleet Training Publication 167>Field Manual 31-5.
                Suprisingly I retained a little bit from AWS…

                • Hondo says:

                  Well, learn something new daily. I wasn’t aware that Army/Navy collaboration on amphibious operations went back quite that far. I thought World War II – and the troubles noted there on many of them – were the catalyst for that.

                  Thanks for enlightening me, Stacy0311.

                  That does document the doctrine. As to actual practice – which often varies substantially from doctrine, at least for a while – I’ll stand by what I said above. The Army and Navy in the Med/ETO largely worked that out between themselves w/o much if any USMC inputs (and quite a number of fits/starts/FUBARs). They had no choice, as it’s my understanding that virtually the entire USMC was deployed to the Pacific during World War II.

  12. ChipNASA says:

    Is that a red Jimmy Cap in the center of the seal?

    /I know I’m going to get flamed for that one so… Phrygian baby

  13. Mike says:

    Happy Birthday youngster. National Guard born 1636

    • Hondo says:

      Mike: although the National Guard claims 1636 as its birthday, that claim is IMO somewhat specious (though widely accepted). It’s more properly the birthday of only the Massachusetts Army National Guard; the predecessor to Army National Guards in other states were each created on later dates. Further, the founding of an organized militia in one of several English colonies in existence at the time is hardly IMO the establishment of a professional military force or a national army. But if the National Guard wants to trace it’s origin to that, I guess they can make that claim – specious or not.

      Still – yes, the concept of a militia (organized or unorganized) is indeed older than the US Army. It dates at least to Anglo-Saxon England in the concept of the fyrd, where ordinary British subjects were obliged to come to the assistance of the King to repel invaders using whatever weapons they possessed or could acquire.

      A more proper birthday for the dual-role National Guard of today would IMO be the date the Militia Act of 1903 became law (best date I’ve been able to find for that was 21 January 1903). That law clarified the role of the state militias vis-a-vis the Federal government, and unambiguously established the preeminence of Federal authority regarding Federalization of state militias and authority over same while in Federal service. Prior to that act, the statutory authority of the Federal government to call out the various state militias was unclear; there are multiple recorded instances of state militias or militia units refusing or attempting to withdraw from Federalization during 19th century conflicts. The Militia Act of 1903 clarified those authorities and roles, ending such practice.

      Besides, since the National Guard is today considered part of the US Army and US Air Force (Federal role), by your logic that means both the US Army and USAF can claim the same birthday as the National Guard if they so desire. (smile)

      • MAJMike says:

        Well, my regiment traces its origins to the Alamo in 1836. Yeh, lost that one but we came back pretty strong!!

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      St. Augustine, FL, founded in 1565. Wouldn’t that make the FL Guard senior?

      • Hondo says:

        I don’t think the Spanish had the same concept of militia as did England and the English Colonies, Proud Infidel. And until 1821, Florida wasn’t part of the US. (smile)

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          *FEEEEHHHHH!* Oh well…

        • OWB says:

          True, Hondo, but doesn’t the state’s history come with it? 😉

          • Hondo says:

            IMO, not if that state wasn’t originally part of the original 13 colonies which later became the US, OWB.

            Under that concept, AZ/CA/NM/TX would be the “oldest” states – as each would inherit the history of New Spain, which began in 1519 with the Cortes and the Conquistadors.

            • OWB says:

              Not really the same. Those states can only claim statehood from the date they became states. That part isn’t retroactive. But, becoming a state hardly negates the existence of cities or towns prior to that date. Same could apply to a militia, be it territorial or whatever, if it transitioned into a state militia after the area became a state.

              Just messin’ with you a bit, Hondo. But, Puerto Rico comes to mind. It’s not a state, but the Guard there is part of the National Guard in spite of it being a territory.

              Just going to have to agree to disagree. I’m sticking with the National Guard being the oldest military in the US. It has been in continuous existence for longer than any other military organization in the US, predating the formation of the US. But, I will give you that by definition, the “United States Military” did not exist prior to there being a United States. (Even though ancestors of mine served in the military on these shores prior to there being a United States.)

  14. EdUSMCLeg says:

    Our older brother with developement issues. So proud of them!

  15. LostBoys says:

    It only matters if someone cares. Stop the next ten former-soldiers you meet and ask them for the Army’s birth date and you’ll be greeted with blank stares. If someone claiming to be a Marine can’t answer that question he’s a phony; feel free to punch them in the nuts.
    And, for the record, the Navy is behind the Marine Corps in precedence.

    • Hondo says:

      True. But that does not alter the fact that the Navy was created earlier.

      The USMC has second precedence due to tradition, stubbornness, and historical accident.

      Both the USMC and USN were disestablished after the American Revolution (the Army was not; a frontier regiment was retained, as well as a battery of artillery to guard the then-arsenal at West Point, NY).

      However, the USMC has consistently claimed the same birthday throughout its history – its original birthday of 10 November 1775. In contrast, the US Navy for a time gave up claiming its actual birthday of 13 October 1775, claiming at various times dates in 1794 (reestablishment of armed ships under the Department of War) or the date of the 1798 reestablishment of the DON as the Navy’s birthday. By the time the USN resumed claiming its actual birthday of 13 October 1775 again, the tradition of USMC being 2nd in military precedence had been firmly established.

      The USMC is actually the 3rd oldest of the US military services by date of creation. It holds second precedence today only because, well, the Navy decided it wasn’t worth a public fight and decided instead to “play nice”.

  16. FatCircles0311 says:

    239 years later and still aren’t ready to be Marines yet.


    • Hondo says:

      The USMC takes islands. The US Army conquers nations.


      • FatCircles0311 says:

        Uniform budgets and chow lines are not nations, Hondo.

        • Hondo says:

          No, uniforms and chow lines aren’t nations. But Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Italy, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Belgium, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, the Philippines, and Afghanistan were.

  17. Sparks says:

    God bless the United States of America! God bless the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Coast Guard and the United States Air Force.

    Together, through thick and thin, war and peace, life and death, we and they who served and honor our nation from every branch, have kept this country free.

    May God’s grace always rest on our country and upon all those who serve and have served, especially those who gave their lives, limbs and blood to keep us the free. The United States of America…the greatest nation to ever exist in the history of mankind in my opinion. Kept free and great by all those who served.

    So to all of you Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen, thank you. Thank you all you gave us.

    • nbcguy54 says:

      Yeah – what Sparks said!!!
      I might have a tiny habit of picking on Zoomies, Jarheads, Squids and Coasties, but that’s only because those of us in the Senior Branch understand that only family can pick on family. Anyone else get’s their ass kicked.

      • Sparks says:

        nbcguy54…Here-Here. We are brothers and sisters here all. I can call my sister ugly all day, but the doofus on the playground that does gets a punch in his snot locker!

      • A Proud Infidel® says:

        DITTO, yeah, I’m Army, but I can’t resist bagging on the Air Farce, Squids, Jarheads or Puddle Pirates. But when it comes from someone who’s never served, GAME ON as nbcguy & Sparks said!

  18. Army National Guard est 1636 says:

    Pfff. Young’ins

  19. Stacy0311 says:

    After 13 years in the Corps and now 16 with the Army (yeah I crossed over to the dark side-they needed help), the Army just doesn’t celebrate like the Marine Corps does.
    There’s a ‘fun run’ Friday, but that’s it.
    Kind of sad. I spent $800 on mess dress I want to get dressed up and drunk!!!

    • FatCircles0311 says:

      SNCO switching to nasty army? How did yor head not explode?

      • Stacy0311 says:

        I learned within 3 months that NCOs are NOT allowed to “wall to wall counsel” soldiers with attitude problems. But after the first one, I never needed to do it again…..

  20. Mustang1LT says:

    I’m going to post this here, since this thread is as good a place as any. It’s a cool Booker T and the MG’S song and, yes that is CCR backstage grooving to the jam. Those of you here should be able to figure out why I chose this particular song. Enjoy!

    Booker T. & The MG’s – Time Is Tight (Live, 1970):

    • Hondo says:

      Godspeed, Mustang1LT. “Be careful out there.”

      Bring as many home as you can.

    • OWB says:

      Thoughts and prayers, LT. Heavy on the prayer side of things.

    • Sparks says:

      Mustang1LT…All my respect Sir. God bless you out there and you, your men and your family at home will remain in prayers.

  21. Toasty Coastie says:

    Happy Cake and Candle Day, Big Brothers and Sisters of the Army 😀

  22. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beloved United States Army ! ! !

    All you guys have read HONDO’s Army Birthday post.

    Now, you can read mine at this URL – – – ;

    I served, my father served, my stepmother served, all but one of my paternal uncles served, my biological brother served (we were both adopted), one brother-in-law served, and a nephew served, but deserted and was discharged.

    Two (02) of my ancestors served in the Continental Army during the War for Independence, and several ancestors served (on both sides) during the War for Southern Independence.

    After the United States Marine Corps rejected me, I wound up in the United States Army when I volunteered to be drafted.

    I got to travel all over the World, earned some college credits, trained in three (03) MOS fields (i.e., Signal Corps communications repair, Military Police patrol, and Cavalry scout), graduated from NCO Academy (with the most demerits in history), had lots of Hollywood movie-style derring-do high adventures, got me a wife, saw history being made, became a part of making history, got decorated (minor stuff, but they LOOK good), learned to strum guitar (sort of), had a few really close calls, and actually got a very brief mention in a couple of history books, all stuff that I never even dreamed would or could ever happen.

    Now, because of that service, I get to live the “life of Riley” in this fantastic Armed Forces Retirement Home, and get my medical treatment at Keesler Air Force Base, and when my time comes, I can be buried with military rites in a national cemetery.

    For me, it’s really fun when I’m watching television or a movie, and I can say, “I recognize that place! That’s one of the places I’ve been!”

    Nifty, huh?

    Tonight, the Armed Forces Retirement Home is having a dinner-dance, with a birthday cake, and a flag ceremony.

    If I’m well enough to go, I’m going to wear my kilt and plaid.

  23. OWB says:

    Figured it is finally safe to get in on the Happy Birthday bit. Being an Army brat, from a very long line of ancestral Army veterans, some career, some only for the duration of whatever war was a hand, the birthday celebration is more of a time for reflection. I am proud of the Army heritage flowing in these old veins.