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The United States Army is the largest and oldest branch of the armed forces of the United States. Like all armies, it has the primary responsibility for land-based military operations.
The modern Army had its roots in the Continental Army which was formed on June 14, 1775, before the establishment of the United States, to meet the demands of the American Revolutionary War. Congress created the United States Army on June 3, 1784 after the end of the war to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The Army considers itself to be descended from the Continental Army, and thus dates its inception from the origins of that force.
Control and operation of the Army is administered by the Department of the Army, one of the three service departments of the Department of Defense. The civilian head is the Secretary of the Army and the highest ranking military officer in the department is the Chief of Staff. As of August 31, 2007, the Regular Army reported a strength of 519,471 soldiers. By the end of 2006, the Army National Guard (ARNG) reported 346,288 and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) reported 189,975, putting the approximate combined component strength total at 1,055,734.
William Tecumseh Sherman
(February 8, 1820 – February 14, 1891) was an American
soldier, businessman, educator, and author. He served as a general
in the United States Army
during the American Civil War
(1861–65), receiving both recognition for his outstanding command of military strategy
, and criticism for the harshness of the "scorched earth
" policies he implemented in conducting total war
against the enemy. Military historian Basil Liddell Hart
famously declared that Sherman was "the first modern general."
Sherman served under General Ulysses S. Grant in 1862 and 1863 during the campaigns that led to the fall of the Confederate stronghold of Vicksburg on the Mississippi River and culminated with the routing of the Confederate armies in the state of Tennessee. In 1864, Sherman succeeded Grant as the Union commander in the western theater of the war. He proceeded to lead his troops to the capture of the city of Atlanta, a military success that contributed decisively to the re-election of President Abraham Lincoln. Sherman's subsequent march through Georgia and the Carolinas further undermined the Confederacy's ability to continue fighting. He accepted the surrender of all the Confederate armies in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida in April 1865.
A shell casing flies out with a trail of smoke as U.S. Army PFC Michael Freise fires an M4 carbine rifle during a firing exercise.
Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Suzanne M. Day, defenselink.mil
General of the Army George Catlett Marshall, Jr.
, US Army (December 31, 1880 – October 16, 1959), was an American
military leader, Secretary of State
, and the third Secretary of Defense
. Once dubbed the “organizer of victory” by Winston Churchill for his leadership of the Allied victory in World War II
, Marshall later became instrumental in the post-war reconstruction effort in Europe, which became known as the Marshall Plan
. For this latter role Marshall received the Nobel Peace Prize
, the only American professional soldier to hold that distinction.
The Black Beret and ACU
Replacement of Black Beret by Patrol Cap one of several changes made by 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's ACU 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
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