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Happy Birthday, Army! Fun facts to celebrate

The United States Army is the oldest and largest of the five military service branches. It celebrates its birthday on June 14 each year.
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army birthday
A U.S. Soldier carries the Army flag to the front of a formation during the Army Birthday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Sarah Dowe)

Today, the United States Army celebrates its 248th birthday. In honor of this occasion, let’s take a look back at the history of the American Army—from its humble beginnings as a small continental force to its current status as one of the most powerful militaries in the world.

Celebrate the Army!

The United States Army is the oldest and largest of the six military service branches. It celebrates its birthday on June 14 each year.

Festivities usually begin with a ceremonial cake cutting attended by senior Army leaders. This tradition dates back to the 1950s when then-Army Chief of Staff, General Maxwell Taylor, introduced it as a way to honor soldiers past and present. After cutting the cake, a round of Happy Birthday is in order. Good singing voices not required!

The Army’s birthday is also a time to reflect on its core values, which are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. These values guide everything that soldiers do and help them to remain focused on their mission.

Finally, the Army’s birthday is an opportunity for soldiers to rededicate themselves to their oath of service. This oath includes a commitment to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. It is a solemn reminder of the sacrifices that soldiers have made throughout history and an affirmation of their commitment to continue doing so in the future.

A History of the Army

We celebrate the Army’s birthday today because that’s when the Continental Army formed, a mere 248 years ago. That’s when the Second Continental Congress authorized raising an Army to fight Great Britain during the American Revolution. The following year, George Washington was appointed as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. Under his leadership, the small and poorly-trained Continental Army won several important victories against their British counterparts, including the battles of Trenton and Princeton. Eventually, leading to the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781.

In 1784, the Continental Army was disbanded and replaced by a much smaller force known as the United States Army. This new Army was responsible for guarding the western frontier and protecting American interests during conflicts with Native American tribes. It still kept its same birthday. Then, in 1802, Congress doubled the size of the Army in order to better deal with these tensions. The following year, Congress established the United States Military Academy at West Point. This school continues to train generations of future American military leaders.

Throughout the 19th century, the size of the Army fluctuated depending on America’s involvement in various wars and conflicts. However, its origin date remained the same and that’s why we still celebrate its birthday on June 14.

army birthday cake
7th Army Training Command Chief of Staff Col. Stephen Marr joined soldiers in celebrating the Army’s birthday. (U.S. Army Photo by Spc Adrian Greenwood)

Changes during WWII

It was in World War II that the United States Army became a truly global force. More than 16 million Americans served in uniform during this conflict—more than any other war in American history. In 1947, Congress created two separate military forces—the United States Army and the United States Air Force—to better deal with the challenges of wars fought in Europe and Asia simultaneously.

Today, the United States Army is composed of more than 1 million soldiers who serve at home and abroad. As we celebrate this 248th birthday, let us remember all those who have served—and continue to serve—our country so bravely throughout its history.

Happy 248th birthday to the United States Army! Today we celebrate all those who have served—and continue to serve—our country so bravely throughout its history. From its humble beginnings as a small continental force to its current status as one of the most powerful militaries in the world, there is no doubt that our Army has come a long way!

Army Fun Facts

As we celebrate this important birthday, here are some fun facts about America’s Army.

The Army performed its first parachute jump in 1918 during World War I. During WWII, the U.S. Army Rangers formed in June 1942. The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” is the oldest active band in the Army, founded in 1922. The first woman to serve in the Army was Mary Edwards Walker, who served as a surgeon during the Civil War. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for designing and constructing the Panama Canal. Here are 6 incredible photos of Navy ships barely fitting through the Panama Canal. The UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter entered service with the Army in 1979 and is still in use today.

Fort Knox, Kentucky, is home to the United States Bullion Depository, which houses approximately 147 million ounces of gold worth over $200 billion! There are currently over 1 million soldiers serving in the United States Army spread out across over 140 countries worldwide. Sergeant First Class Alwyn Cashe was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is only one of three soldiers from that conflict to receive the award.