- Students’ Column
- War and Military
The history of the US Military dates all the way back to the Continental Army of the revolutionary war. But despite this, the US Military did not officially start until 29th September 1789. This was when congress passed an act that legalised the small contingent already in uniform. Since then, the Military of the United States of America has become the world’s most powerful fighting force. Find out all the facts you need to know about the history of the elite forces here.
It was practically nonexistent in the beginning:
The republican government in the beginning of the US Military believed that “standing armies in times of peace are inconsistent with the principles of republican governments and dangerous to the liberties of a free people”. For this reason, the government passed legislation that disbanded the continental army, with the exception of a few dozen troops who guarded munitions at West Point, New York. And Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania. The legislation also called on 700 men as part of state militias to deal with potential threats from native Americans and the British.
Throughout the first few decades of its existence, the US suffered relatively few combat casualties. This changed throughout the civil war however. The union and confederacy lost at least 618,000 men between them. The losses were due to bullets and disease. Since the civil war, only WWII has come close in terms of American deaths, totally approximately 405,000.
The use of camouflage dates back over a century:
George Washington in 1779 chose Blue as the primary uniform colour of the continental army. This decision stuck until as late the Spanish-American war of 1898. This changed when some US troops in Cuba smeared themselves with mud in order to avoid enemy fire. Soon after this, the army adopted a Khaki summer uniform and a green-brown winter uniform. The traditional blue uniform was kept, but only for special occasions. During World War 1, a team of artists and creatives were put together to design a low-visibility uniform.
How military displays the flag:
Here’s a piece of American flag trivia for you. The US Military paints the flag backwards on their aircraft, putting the stars on the upper right side instead of the left. This gives the impression that the flag is streaming as it would if it were real, flying with the wind instead of against it. This is the same on military uniforms. The flag should always look as though it is going forward with the soldier and never retreating.
The first women to enlist was during World War 1:
During the revolutionary war, women could only be found on battlefields as nurses or seamstresses or cooks. Not allowed to officially serve until the establishment of the Army and Navy Nurse Corps in 1901, women often dressed as men in order to see battle. The first non-nurse women to enlist was in 1917, when they freed up male servicemen by working overseas as clerics or Signal Corps operators. It wasn’t until 1948 when women were allowed to serve in the military during peacetime. Women make up about 16% of the US Army today and will reportedly no longer be excluded from ground-combat units.
Hopefully you’ll be able to impress all of your mates down at the bar with your newfound knowledge of the US military and how it was started.