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Which Branch of the Military is Older Than America Itself?

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

which branch of the military is older than america itself

You probably already know that the oldest U.S military branch is the Army. But did you know that it is older than the U.S itself? Yes, you’ve read that correctly.

The Army military branch is older than America itself.

Keep reading this article on “Which branch of the military is older than America itself?” to find out more information about the Army.

The Oldest Military Branch is Even Older Than the U.S!


As we mentioned earlier in the introduction, the oldest branch of the United States military is older than the country itself!

The U.S Army’s Age Compared to The Other Service Branches

The second oldest service branch is the Navy. The third is the Marine Corps, and the fourth is the Coast Guard. The Air Force used to be the youngest. But recently, the Space Force was formed, so it is the new youngest branch.

  • The Navy was founded on October 13, 1775.
  • The Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775.
  • The Coast Guard was founded on August 4, 1790.
  • The Air Force was founded on September 18, 1947.
  • The Space Force was founded on December 20, 3019.

Let’s dive into the details of its origin now, shall we?

A Brief Summary of the U.S Army Origin

The U.S Army was established in 1775, as the Continental Army, by the Second Continental Congress. Its purpose was to fight Great Britain, in what is now referred to as the American Revolutionary War. At the time, the appointed Commander was George Washington.

Following the war, the Continental Army received land certificates, then disbanded due to the distrust of Republicans against standing forces.

The U.S’s sole defense force were state militias, a single regiment that guarded the Western Frontier, and a single artillery battery, which guarded the West Point Arsenal.

Due to the ongoing conflict with Native Americans, however, the U.S eventually saw that it was necessary to have a trained and ready standing force.

The original Regular Army was very small. But when it headed to the Battle of Wabash and was defeated, losing 800 American lives, the force was rearranged into the Legion of the U.S. In 1796, which was 5 years after the Legion establishment, it was renamed as the U.S Army.

The U.S Army Engagements

The U.S Army, since then, has seen many wars (in fact, all of the wars the U.S was involved in):

  • The War of 1812 (1812 – 1815)
  • The Mexican–American War (1846 – 1848)
  • The Civil War (1861 – 1865)
  • The Indian Wars (Intermittent: 1609 – 1924)
  • The Spanish–American War (Apr – Dec 1898)
  • The Philippine–American War (1899 – 1902)
  • The First World War (1914 – 1918)
  • The Russian Civil War (1917 – 1922)
  • The Second World War (1939 – 1945)
  • The Korean War (1950 – 1953)
  • The 1958 Lebanon Crisis (Jul – Oct 1958)
  • The Vietnam War (1955 – 1975)
  • The Dominican Civil War (Apr – Sep 1965)
  • The Korean DMZ Conflict (1966 – 1969)
  • The Grenada Invasion (1983)
  • The Panama Invasion (1989 – 1990)
  • The Somali Civil War (1991 – Disputed)
  • The Persian Gulf War (1990 – 1991)
  • The Kosovo War (1998 – 1999)
  • The War in Afghanistan (2001 – 2021)
  • The Iraq War (2003 – 2011)

Today, the U.S Army is headed by:

  • Commander-in-Chief President Joe Biden
  • Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin
  • Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth
  • Chief of Staff General James C. McConville
  • Vice Chief of Staff General Joseph M. Martin
  • Sergeant Major of the Army Michael A. Grimston

The force is among the top 10 Armies globally in terms of size.

In 2021, there were:

  • 485 thousand personnel in the Regular Army
  • 336 thousand personnel in the Army National Guard
  • 189 thousand 500 personnel in the Army Reserve personnel

The U.S Army, hence, contributes greatly to the U.S military strength as a whole.

The U.S Army Basic Structure


The Army is made up of the Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. The Army Reserve and the Army National Guard are Reserve components, composed of part-time members.

There are other state defense forces in some states and all states have state militias.

Within the Army are branches and functional areas.

Branches are divided as follow:

  • Officers
  • Warrant Officers
  • Enlisted Soldiers

Functional areas include:

  • FA 26: Information Network Engineering
  • FA 30: Information Operations
  • FA 34: Strategic Intelligence
  • FA 40: Space Operations
  • FA 46: Public Affairs Officer
  • FA 47: Academy Professor
  • FA 48: Foreign Area Officer
  • FA 49: Operations Analysis
  • FA 50: Force Management
  • FA 51: Acquisition
  • FA 57: Simulation Operations
  • FA 58: Army Marketing
  • FA 70; Health Services
  • FA 71: Laboratory Sciences
  • FA 72: Preventive Medicine Sciences
  • FA 73: Behavioral Sciences

Aside from functional areas, Army personnel have specific jobs, called military occupational specialties (MOSs). There are over 200 MOSs.

You can read more about which military branch you should join here.

The U.S Army Enlistment Requirements


To enlist in the Army, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a U.S citizen or an alien of residence
  • Be between 17 years old and 34 years old
  • Be a high school diploma holder
  • Be without +2 dependents

You must also pass two exams:

  • One: The ASVAB, which is short for Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. The minimum score requirement is
  • Two: The Medical MEPS, which is an abbreviation for Military Entrance Processing Station.

Once you become an Army recruit, you must finish 10 weeks of basic training, then advanced individual training to join the Army officially.

The U.S Army Essentials

Other basic information that you may want to know:

  • It is a land service branch (and the most senior one of all in order of precedence)
  • It is headquartered in Virginia’s Pentagon Arlington County
  • Its motto is “This we’ll defend”
  • Its 3 key colors are black, gold, and white
  • Its birthday anniversary is on June 14

This is what its service mark looks like:



Now that you have reached the end of this article on “Which branch of the military is older than America itself?” You know that the branch of the military older than America is the Army.

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Read more: What are all the branches of the military?

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