The Military of the United States
The military of the United States, officially known as the United States Armed Forces, consists of five of the seven federal uniform services: the United States Army, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force, the United States Marine Corps, and the United States Coast Guard. Approximately 1.4 million personnel are currently on active duty in the military, with an additional 1,359,000 personnel in the seven reserve components. The Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military is the President of the United States. With a strength of 2.26 million personnel, including reserves, the United States Armed Forces are the second-largest in the world, after the People's Liberation Army of China, and have troops deployed around the globe. As in most militaries, members of the U.S. Armed Forces hold a rank, either that of officer or enlisted, and can be promoted.
State Defense Forces are militia units operating under the sole authority of a state government or governor, and are distinct from the National Guard in that they are not federal military forces. Authorized by state and federal law, State Defense Forces as a whole "may not be called, ordered, or drafted into the armed forces" (of the United States) under 32 U.S.C. § 109 however the subsection further states that individuals serving in the State Defense Forces are not exempt from conscription. Including Puerto Rico, approximately twenty-five states have active State Defense Forces that can be called upon during emergency management and homeland security missions.
The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is the Cabinet organization that controls the U.S. military, headquartered at the Pentagon. The Secretary of Defense also oversees the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, and civilian agencies such as the Inspector General, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. The DoD is the largest employer in the United States.
The military history of the United States spans a period of over two centuries, during which the United States grew from an alliance of thirteen British colonies without a professional military, to the world's sole remaining military superpower as of 2012.
The history of the United States military begins in civilian frontiersmen, armed for hunting and basic survival in the wilderness that were organized into local militias for small military operations, mostly against Native American tribes but also to resist possible raids by the small military forces of neighboring European colonies.
The Black Beret and ACU
Uniform changes by Army uniform board
After polling Army personnel for input, the Army's uniform board has instituted several changes to the Army's attire. First and foremost, the Black Beret will be relegated to the Army's service dress uniform. Velcro is also being made optional for some closures. Soldiers will be provided the chance to sew patches to their uniform.
The beret has been the standard headgear for the Army Combat Uniform since June 2001. The beret is worn on base and for ceremonies while the patrol cap is worn in the field. Soldiers disliked the beret for its nonexistent practical purpose and the redundancy of having to carry both a beret and hat at all times. “The [ACU] signifies a uniform that should be worn in combat or training for combat, yet a beret doesn’t even make the cut on the deployment packing list,” said one NCO. The Army will now issue only one beret to each soldier for a cost savings of $6.5 million over the lifecycle of the ACU.
Soldiers will still wear their berets with their Army Service Uniform. Soldiers are pleased overall with the appearance of the beret on the ASU. The change does not effect Special Forces soldiers such as the Army Special Forces who wear distinctive Green Berets.
Velcro replaced buttons on the digital ACU replacement for the BDU. Velcro was received as being too noisy, messy, and unprofessional looking by early users after the new ACU uniform was adopted by the Army. Soldiers voiced their opposition to velcro to the Army's Uniform board earlier this year prior to the decision.
Sources: AT:Beret going away?,AT:Army dumps Beret,ANS:Velcro optional, Patrol Cap default
The Ardennes Offensive, officially named the Battle of the Ardennes and known to the general public as the Battle of the Bulge, started on December 16, 1944. It was supported by subordinate operations known as Hermann, Greif, and Wahrung, by the Germans. The goal of these operations were to split the Allied line in half, capturing Antwerp and then proceeding to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis' favour. The "bulge" refers to the extension of the German lines in this battle, forming a growing salient into Allied controlled territory, seen clearly in maps presented in newspapers of the time.
Although the German objective was ultimately unrealized, the Allies' slow response to the penetration set their own offensive timetable back by months. The offensive was also counter-productive as many experienced units of the German army were left depleted and in a poor state of supply outside the defenses of the Siegfried Line. In numerical terms, the Battle of the Ardennes was the largest land battle in the history of the U.S. Army.
Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the thirty-third President of the United States (1945–1953); as vice president, he succeeded to the office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. During World War I he served as an artillery officer. After the war he became part of the political machine of Tom Pendergast and was elected a county judge in Missouri and eventually a United States Senator. In 1944, Roosevelt replaced Henry A. Wallace as vice president with Truman for Roosevelt's fourth term.
As president, Truman faced challenge after challenge in domestic affairs: a tumultuous reconversion of the economy marked by severe shortages, numerous strikes, and the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act over his veto. He used executive orders to begin desegregation of the U.S. armed forces and to launch a system of loyalty checks to remove thousands of communist sympathizers from government office. Truman's presidency was also eventful in foreign affairs, with the end of World War II (including his decision to use nuclear weapons in combat), the founding of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, the Truman Doctrine to contain communism, the beginning of the Cold War, the creation of NATO, and the Korean War.
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