It’s time once again for Armed Forces Day this Saturday and, as is our tradition, we’re putting the brakes on the regularly scheduled programming to pay our respects to our service members.
Last year, we took a little time to <a title="Armed Forces Day Observance" href="http://www.atgstores.com/ourblog/armed-forces-day-observance/" target="_blank">explain the difference between Armed Forces Day and other military observance days</a>, but this year we’re going to honor each branch by providing a) a quick bit of history and b) a notable achievement or fact about that branch. Let’s get started!
The U.S. Army is the oldest branch of the U.S. military and was activated on June 14th, 1775, as what was then known as the Continental Army to fight the advances of Great Britain on newly formed U.S. soil.
RANDOM FACT: The Army’s Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) is unofficially known as the “Night Stalkers” and specializes in tactical combat helicopter aviation support, most often conducted at night, at high speeds and low altitudes.
The U.S. Navy was activated on October 13, 1775, as the Continental Navy – a fleet composed of merchantmen charged with disrupting British maritime operations during the Revolutionary War.
RANDOM FACT: The U.S. Navy operates 72 submarines, 14 of which are <em>Ohio</em>-class ballistic missile submarines carrying a total of 288 Trident II nuclear missiles that, by law, can carry a max payload of eight warheads each – a total of 2,304 deployable 475-kiloton devices.
<strong>U.S. Marine Corps </strong>
The U.S. Marine Corps was activated on November 10th, 1775, in Philadelphia with the express purpose of providing amphibious assault capability in the form of a naval infantry during the Revolutionary War.
RANDOM FACT: In 2001, the Marines implemented the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program (MCMAP), which provides members with specialized training in non-lethal combat that blends techniques based in Taekwondo, Jujitsu, Karate and Eskrima.
<strong>U.S. Coast Guard</strong>
The U.S. Coast Guard was activated on August 4th, 1790, with a multifaceted mission that includes domestic maritime law enforcement during peacetime and military operations during wartime.
RANDOM FACT: Lest you feel the Coast Guard is somehow less hardcore than the other branches, consider its unofficial motto: <em>You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back!</em> This is a reflection of the official mandate, which states that a Coast Guardsman attempting a rescue “… will not desist from his efforts until by actual trial, [at such time when] the impossibility of effecting a rescue is demonstrated.”
<strong>U.S. Air Force</strong>
The U.S. Air Force is the youngest branch of the armed forces and was activated on September 18th, 1947, under the National Security Act of 1947 to provide “sustained offensive and defensive air operations.”
RANDOM FACT: While newfangled fighter jets like the F-22 Raptor attract the most attention in the Air Force fleet, the (currently unclassified) speed record-holder is the since retired SR-71 “Blackbird” reconnaissance plane, which could reach Mach 3+ speeds and was once piloted from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., <em>in less than 65 minutes</em>.
So, for our service members who shoulder these responsibilities and do these amazing things – we say thank you.