United States Army

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US Army Seal
HHC, US Army Distinctive Unit Insignia

The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces that has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. As of fiscal year 2004 (FY04), it consisted of 485,500 soldiers (including 71,400 women) on active duty and 591,000 in reserve (325,000 in the Army National Guard (ARNG) and 246,000 in the United States Army Reserve (USAR)). The Continental Army 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 American Revolutionary War, to replace the disbanded Continental Army.


Components of the U.S. Army

File:Army flag.gif
Flag of the U.S. Army

Between 1775 and August 7, 1789, the established Federal Army was the Continental Army. On the latter date, the Continental Army was replaced by the United States Army under the newly-established War Department. The structure of the US Army was constitutionally established as the Regular Army, the units of the State Militias when called to federal service, and units of Volunteers that were established for the duration of the emergency. This remained the normal scheme of things until the Civil War, when the first Conscription took place. The concept of the National Army as a Conscript Army was thus established in all but name, since units were established to accommodate the use of the conscripts in combat. The last time that the Volunteer Units were utilized was the Spanish-American War in 1898. From that time forward, the Regular Army, the State Militias, and the National Army were codified as standard. In 1908, the Organized Reserve Corps was established to provide trained Officers and Enlisted Men for immediate use in time of war.

During the First World War, the "National Army" was organized to fight the conflict. It was demobilized at the end of World War I, and was replaced by the Regular Army, the Organized Reserve Corps, and the State Militias. In the 1920s and 1930s, the "career" soldiers were known as the "Regular Army" with the "Enlisted Reserve Corps" and "Officer Reserve Corps" augmented to fill vacancies when needed.

In 1941, the "Army of the United States" was founded to fight the Second World War. The Regular Army, Army of the United States, the National Guard, and Officer/Enlisted Reserve Corps (ORC and ERC) existed simultaneously. After World War II, the ORC and ERC were combined into the United States Army Reserve. The Army of the United States was re-established for the Korean War and Vietnam War and was demobilized upon the suspension of the draft.

Currently, the Army is divided into the Regular Army, the Army Reserve, and the United States National Guard. Prior to the 21st century, members of the National Guard were considered state Soldiers unless federalized by the Army. Currently, all National Guard members hold dual status: as National Guardsmen under the authority of the State Adjutant General, and as National Guardsmen under the authority of the Army Human Resources Command. Until such time as National Guardsmen retire from National Guard service, they are never considered members of the Army Reserve, but become members of the US Army Retired Reserve upon retirement, and remain in such status until their 60th Birthday, when they become full-fleged Retirees with a status equal to Regular Army Retirees.

Various State Defense Forces also exist, sometimes known as State Militias, which are sponsored by individual state governments and serve as an auxiliary to the National Guard. Except in times of extreme national emergency, such as a mainland invasion of the United States, State Militias are operated independently from the U.S. Army and are seen as state government agencies rather than a component of the military.

By design, the use of the Army Reserve and National Guard has increased since the Vietnam War. Reserve and Guard units took part in the Gulf War, peacekeeping in Kosovo, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. With recent manpower shortages in the military, some U.S. citizens have been concerned regarding a reinstitution of the draft (conscription) force. Federal and state lawmakers, however, have asserted that no such action is being planned.

Although the present-day Army exists as an all volunteer force, augmented by Reserve and National Guard forces, measures exist for emergency expansion in the event of a catastrophic occurrence, such as a large scale attack against the US or the outbreak of a major global war. The current "call-up" order of the United States Army is as follows:

US Army Beret Flash
  1. Regular Army volunteer force
  2. Army Reserve total mobilization
  3. Full scale activation of all National Guard forces
  4. Recall of all retired personnel fit for military duty
  5. Re-establishment of the draft and creation of a conscript force within the Regular Army
  6. Recall of previously discharged officers and enlisted who were separated under honorable conditions
  7. Activation of the State Defense Forces/State Militias
  8. Full scale mobilization of the unorganized U.S. militia

The final stage of Army mobilization, known as "activation of the unorganized militia" would effectively place all able bodied males in the service of the U.S. Army. The last time an approximation of this occurred was during the American Civil War when the Confederate States of America activated the "Home Guard" in 1865, drafting all males, regardless of age or health, into the Confederate Army. A similar event, albeit in a foreign country, occurred during World War II when Nazi Germany activated the Volkssturm in April and May of 1945.

Structure of the U.S. Army

Officially, a member of the U.S. Army is called a Soldier (always capitalized). The U.S. Army is divided into the following components, from largest to smallest:

U.S. Generals, World War II, Europe:
back row (left to right): Stearley, Vandenberg, Smith, Weyland, Nugent;
front row: Simpson, Patton, Spaatz, Eisenhower, Bradley, Hodges, Gerow.
HHC, US Army Shoulder Sleeve Insignia
U.S. 1st Army
  1. Field Army: Usually commanded by a General (GEN; note that abbreviations of military rank within the U.S. Army are given in all capital letters without a period or other punctuation).
  2. Corps: Consists of two or more divisions and organic support brigades. The commander is most often a Lieutenant General (LTG).
  3. Division: Usually commanded by a Major General (MG).
  4. Brigade (or group): Composed of typically three or more battalions, and commanded by a Colonel (COL) or Brigadier General (BG). (See Regiment for combat arms units.)
  5. Battalion (or squadron): A Battalion usually consists of two to six companies and roughly 300 to 1000 soldiers. Most units are organized into battalions. Cavalry units are formed into squadrons. A battalion-sized unit is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel (LTC), supported by a Command Sergeant Major/E-9 (CSM). This unit consists of a Battalion Commander (CO, LTC), a Battalion Executive Officer (XO,MAJ), a Command Sergeant Major (CSM) and headquarters, 3-5 Company Commanders (CPT), 3-5 Company Executive Officers (1LT), 3-5 First Sergeants (1SG) and headquarters, 6 or more Platoon Leaders (2LT/1LT), 6 or more Platoon sergeants (SFC),and 12 or more Squad Leaders (any NCO).
  6. Company (or artillery battery/troop): A company usually consists of three to four platoons and roughly 100 to 130 soldiers. Artillery units are formed into batteries. Cavalry units are formed into troops. A company-sized unit is usually led by a Company Commander usually the rank of Captain/O-3 (CPT) supported by a First Sergeant/E-8 (1SG). This unit consists of a Company Commander (CO, CPT), a Company Executive Officer (XO,1LT), A First Sergeant(1SG) and a headquarters, Two or more Platoon Leaders (2LT/1LT), two or more Platoon Sergeants (SFC), and four or more Squad Leaders (any NCO).
  7. Platoon: Usually led by a lieutenant supported by a Sergeant First Class/E-7 (SFC). This unit consists of a Platoon Leader (2LT/1LT), a Platoon Sergeant (SFC), and two or more Squad Leaders (any NCO).
  8. Section (military unit): Usually directed by Staff Sergeants/E-6 (SSG) who supply guidance for junior NCO Squad leaders. Often used in conjunction with platoons at the company level.
  9. Squad: Squad leaders are often Staff Sergeants/E-6 (SSG), Sergeants/E-5 (SGT), or Corporals/E-4 (CPL). This unit consists of eight to ten Soldiers.
  10. Fire team: Usually consists of four Soldiers: a fire team leader, a grenadier, and two riflemen. Fire team leaders are often Corporals/E-4 (CPL).


The Army is organized by function. Combat Arms include Infantry, Armor, Field Artillery, Air Defense Artillery, Corps of Engineers, Army Aviation, and Special Forces. Combat Support Arms include Signal Corps, Intelligence Corps, Chemical Corps, and Military Police Corps. Combat Service Support troops include the Judge Advocate General's Corps, Adjutant General's Corps, Finance Corps, Transportation Corps, Quartermaster Corps, Ordnance Corps, Medical Corps, Medical Service Corps, and Nurse Corps.

Named Campaigns

Revolutionary War

American Revolutionary War Campaign Streamer
  1. Lexington, 19 April 1775. Opening hostilities of the Revolutionary War occurred at Lexington, Massachusetts and Concord, Massachusetts on 19 April 1775, when a column of British troops that had moved out of Boston to seize rebel military stores at Concord was assailed by Minutemen (militia). The Massachusetts militia immediately placed the British in Boston under siege.
  2. Ticonderoga, 10 May 1775. At the same time as Lexington, steps were taken to send an expedition against British-held Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain, a strategic post well-supplied with artillery and military stores much needed by the American forces investing Boston. Early on 10 May a New England force of some 80 men led by Cols. Ethan Allen of Vermont and Benedict Arnold of Connecticut surprised the British garrison of about 40 men, which surrendered without a fight. Following this success, Allen seized Crown Point, New York on 12 May and Arnold temporarily occupied St. John, Quebec, a fort across the Canadian border, on 16 May. Subsequently, a large part of the 100 cannon and substantial military stores captured at Ticonderoga were laboriously hauled overland to Boston under the direction of Maj. Gen. Henry Knox, of Washington's artillery, to supply the army besieging the city.
  3. Boston, 17 June 1775 - 17 March 1776. On the night of 16 - 17 June 1775 about 1,200 men of the Colonial force besieging Boston moved on to the Charlestown isthmus overlooking the city and threw up entrenchments on Breed's Hill. The British garrison reacted promptly to this threat. On 17 June 2,200 troops under Maj. Gen. William Howe were ferried across to the isthmus and stormed the American positions on Breed's Hill. In the ensuing battle, incorrectly named after Bunker Hill which stands nearby, the British drove the Colonials from the isthmus after three assaults, but at a cost of about 1,000 in killed and wounded as compared with American losses of approximately 400 killed and wounded. Some 3,030 patriots took part in the fighting at one time or another. This proved to be the only major engagement of the prolonged siege of Boston. Gen. George Washington took formal command of the besieging army on 3 July 1775 and devoted the next several months to building up the American force and trying to solve its severe logistical difficulties. By March 1776 Washington had an army of 14,000 men. On 4 March he moved suddenly to install artillery on Dorchester Heights and, a short time later, on Nook's Hill, positions that dominated Boston from the south. The British commander, Howe, now recognized the serious difficulty of his position. He evacuated the city by 17 March and on 26 March sailed with about 9,000 men for Halifax, Nova Scotia.
  4. Quebec, 28 August 1775 - July 1776. In June 1775 the Continental Congress, influenced by reports that the British commander in Canada was recruiting a force in preparation for an invasion of New York and by hopes that Canada, largely inhabited by French, might become a fourteenth colony in support of the Revolution, authorized seizure of any vital points in Canada needed to guarantee the security of the colonies. Consequently, a two-pronged invasion of Canada was launched in the early fall of 1775. Col. Benedict Arnold, starting from Cambridge, Massachusetts, with about 1,100 men, went by water and land through the Maine wilderness on an epic march up the Kennebec River and down the Chaudiere River, arriving before Quebec on 8 November with only 650 men. There he had to await the arrival of Brig. Gen. Richard Montgomery, who had taken over command of a force of about 2,000 men organized at Fort Ticonderoga by Maj. Gen. Philip Schuyler for an advance up the historic Lake Champlain-St. Lawrence River route. Beginning on 17 September, Montgomery laid siege to the British fort at St. Johns, which fell on 2 November, opening up the way to American occupation of Montreal on 13 November. Finally, Montgomery joined Arnold near Quebec on 3 December, but with only 300 men, the rest of his force staying behind to garrison St. Johns and Montreal, Quebec. With enlistments of most of the volunteer troops expiring at the end of the year' the two commanders decided to undertake a desperate night attack on Quebec on 30-31 December 1775. A composite British garrison repelled the assault, killing or wounding about 100 Americans and taking over 400 prisoners. Montgomery was among those killed. In spite of these severe losses, the Americans continued to besiege the city until the spring of 1776, when the reinforced British garrison drove the Colonials, who had already begun a retreat, back to the head of Lake Champlain.
  5. Charleston, 28-29 June 1776 and 29 March-12 May 1780. The two engagements at Charleston, South Carolina, are reflected on a single streamer. The first campaign blunted the British threat in the southern theater for three years, and the second, while a defeat for the Americans, did not result in a cessation of hostilities in the south. Guerrillas began to harry British posts and lines of communications, and the American grass roots strength began once again to assert itself and to deny the British the fruits of military victory won in the field.
  6. Long Island, 26-29 August 1776. After the British evacuation of Boston, Washington immediately moved his army, less the militia, to New York, in anticipation of a British invasion of that strategically important city. During July and August 1776, General Howe, supported by a British fleet under his brother, Adm. Lord Richard Howe, landed an army of 32,000 British and Hessian regulars unopposed on Staten Island. But by late August Washington had assembled a force of over 20,000 virtually untrained Continentals and militia, and built a system of defenses on and around Manhattan Island. About half of these Colonial troops were disposed in fortifications on Brooklyn Heights and forward positions at the western end of Long Island under command of Maj. Gen. Israel Putnam. From 22 - 25 August General Howe landed about 20,000 men on Long Island and, in the evening of the 26th, directed a wide flanking movement around the American left, commanded by Maj. Gen. John Sullivan. On the morning of the 27th Howe fell upon the rear of Sullivan's forces and, despite a valiant defense by the Continentals on the right under Brig. Gen. William Alexander (Lord Stirling), the whole American front crumpled. Remnants of the forward American forces fled back to entrenchments on Brooklyn Heights and two nights later were evacuated to Manhattan in a skillful withdrawal unobserved by the British. Estimates place American losses at 300-400 killed and wounded and 700-1,200 taken prisoners. General Howe listed his losses as 367.
  7. Trenton, 26 December 1776. The British followed up their success on Long Island with a series of landings on Manhattan Island which compelled Washington to retire northward to avoid entrapment. When Fort Washington and Fort Lee on opposing sides of the Hudson above Manhattan were lost in mid-November 1776, Washington retreated across New Jersey with General Howe in close pursuit, escaping finally over the Delaware into Pennsylvania with about 3,000 men. Howe then went into winter quarters in New York City, leaving garrisons at Newport, R. I., and in several New Jersey towns. In December 1776, Washington determined to make a surprise attack on the British garrison in Trenton, a 1,400-man Hessian force, in the hope that a striking victory would lift the badly flagging American morale. Reinforcements had raised Washington's army to about 7,000 and on Christmas night (25-26 December) he ferried about 2,400 men of this force across the ice-choked Delaware River. At 0800 hours they converged on Trenton, New Jersey in two columns, achieving complete surprise. After only an hour and a half of fighting, the Hessians surrendered. Some 400 of the garrison escaped southward to Bordentown, New Jersey, when two other American columns failed to get across the Delaware in time to intercept them. About 30 were killed and 918 captured. American losses were only 4 dead and a like number wounded.
  8. Princeton, 3 January 1777. After the successful coup at Trenton, Washington recrossed the Delaware into Pennsylvania with his Hessian prisoners. But he reoccupied Trenton on 30 - 31 December 1776, and collected there a force of 5,200 men, about half militia. Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Charles Cornwallis, British commander in New Jersey, who was in New York at the time of the attack on Trenton, returned gathering troops as he came. He entered Trenton with some 6,000 British regulars on 2 January and faced Washington's forces, which had withdrawn southward behind Assunpink Creek. The Americans were in a most precarious position with their backs to the Delaware. Fortunately, Cornwallis delayed his attack until the following morning. This gave Washington's men an opportunity to steal off quietly by a side road during the night of 2 - 3 January, leaving their campfires burning brightly. They slipped southward and eastward undetected around the enemy's flank and by morning of the 3rd had arrived at Princeton, where they encountered a column of British regulars led by Col. Charles Mawhood just leaving the town to join Cornwallis. Mahwood's force consisted of only single battalion of aroung 400 men. But despite being heavily outnumbered, Mahwood routed two American brigades in succession, and was only driven from the field when Washington arrived to rally the panicking Americans bringing up a fresh brigade, and giving the Americans, with 4,600 men, an 11 to 1 numerical advantage. Mawhood's force retired in good order toward Trenton and New Brunswick, having lost some 86 men in the unequal fight, while Washington moved on north, having taken 40-50 casualties, to Morristown, New Jersey, where thickly wooded hills provided protection against a British attack. Here he established his winter headquarters on the flank of the British line of communications, compelling General Howe to withdraw his forces in New Jersey back to New Brunswick, New Jersey and points eastward. Some 323 other British troops surrendered to Washington's force in and around Princton without a fight.
  9. Saratoga, 30 July - 17 October 1777. British over-all strategy in 1777 had two major objectives: (1) to split New England from the rest of the American states by a drive from Canada down the Hudson to Albany that would link up with another British force advancing north from New York City; and (2) to seize Philadelphia, seat of the Revolutionary government. The campaign in upper New York began in June 1777 with a two-pronged British drive from Canada. Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne's force of about 7,500, accompanied by some 400 Indians, pushed down Lake Champlain and compelled 2,500 Continentals and militia under Maj. Gen. Arthur St. Clair to evacuate Ticonderoga on 27 June. Other American forces in the area under the over-all command of General Schuyler retired southward, but were able to slow the progress of the heavily laden British in the rugged terrain. The other prong of the British invading force consisted of some 700 regulars and Tories, and a band of 1,000 Indians, under command of Col. Barry St. Leger. This force moved east from Fort Oswego on Lake Ontario into the Mohawk Valley with the objective of joining with Burgoyne at Albany. Leger laid siege to Fort Stanwix guarding the head of the Mohawk Valley on 2 August, but had to give up his campaign in mid-August when a relief force of 950 Continentals under Arnold scattered his Indian allies by means of a clever ruse. Meanwhile, Burgoyne continued his advance toward Albany, although his force was further weakened by the near annihilation on 17 August of a foraging detachment dispatched to capture stores at Bennington, Vt., protected by 2,600 militia under Brig. Gen. John Stark. On 13 - 14 September Burgoyne crossed the Hudson at Saratoga (now Schuylerville, N.Y.) and faced an American force of about 7,000 under Maj. Gen. Horatio Gates, who on 19 August had replaced General Schuyler as over-all commander of the northern army. On 19 September, Burgoyne, determined to reach Albany by winter, moved to attack Bemis Heights, where Gates' force barred the route southward in strongly entrenched positions. A major engagement occurred at Freeman's Farm, just forward of the main positions. The Americans yielded the field but inflicted twice as many casualties (600) as they suffered and held on to the Heights. For more than two weeks Burgoyne remained inactive while Maj. Gen. Sir Henry Clinton, now commanding troops in New York City, made an ineffectual effort to send relief forces up the Hudson. Finally, on 7 October, Burgoyne ventured out of his lines toward the American left with 1,650 troops and was repulsed in a sharp fight known as the Battle of Bemis Heights. On 9 October he retired to a position near Saratoga, where he was soon virtually surrounded by an American force now grown to nearly 15,000 men. Here on 17 October Burgoyne surrendered his entire army of about 5,000 men and large military stores.
  10. Brandywine, 11 September 1777. The campaign to seize Philadelphia, the second mayor phase of British strategy in 1777, began in late July. Some 15,000 troops under Howe's command sailed from New York on 23 July and landed at Head of Elk (now Elkton), Maryland, a month later (25 August). Washington, with about 11,000 men, took up a defensive position blocking the way to Philadelphia at Chad's Ford on the eastern side of Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania. Howe attacked on 11 September, sending Cornwallis across the creek in a wide-sweeping flanking movement around the American right, while his Hessian troops demonstrated opposite Chad's Ford. Maj. Gen. Nathanael Greene's troops staved off Cornwallis' threatened envelopment of Washington's whole force, and the Americans fell back to Chester in a hard-pressed but orderly retreat. Patriot losses in this engagement totaled about 1,200 killed, wounded, and prisoners. British casualties were 576.
  11. Germantown, 4 October 1777. After their victory at Brandywine the British forces under Howe maneuvered in the vicinity of Philadelphia for two weeks, virtually annihilating a rear guard force under Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne at Paoli on 21 September 1777, before moving unopposed into the city on 26 September. Howe established his main encampment in nearby Germantown, stationing some 9,000 men there. Washington promptly attempted a coordinated attack against this garrison on the night of 3 - 4 October. Columns were to move into Germantown from four different directions and begin the assault at dawn Two of the columns, both made up of militia, never appeared to take part in the attack, but in the early phases of the fighting the columns under Greene and Divan achieved considerable success. However, a dense early morning fog which resulted in some American troops firing on each other while it permitted the better disciplined British to re-form for a counterattack and a shortage of, ammunition contributed to the still not fully explained retreat of the Americans, beginning about 0900. Howe pursued the Colonials a few miles as they fell back in disorder, but he did not exploit his victory. American losses were 673 killed and wounded and about 400 taken prisoner. British losses were approximately 521 killed and wounded.
  12. Monmouth, 28 June 1778. After conclusion of the Franco-American Alliance (6 February 1778) British forces in America had to give consideration to the new threat created by the powerful French fleet. General Clinton, who relieved Howe as British commander in America on 8 May 1778, decided to shift the main body of his troops from Philadelphia to a point nearer the coast where it would be easier to maintain close communications with the British Fleet. Consequently, he ordered evacuation of the 10,000-man garrison in Philadelphia on 18 June. As these troops set out through New Jersey toward New York, Washington broke camp at his winter headquarters in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, and began pursuit of Clinton with an army of about 13,500 men. Advance elements under Mad. Gen. Charles Lee launched the initial attack on the British column as it marched out of Monmouth Courthouse (now Freehold, New Jersey, on 28 June, an extremely hot day. For reasons not entirely clear Lee did not follow up early advantages gained, and when British reinforcements arrived on the scene he ordered a retreat. This encouraged Clinton to attack with his main force. Washington relieved Lee and assumed personal direction of the battle, which continued until dark without either side retiring from the field. But, during the night, the British slipped away to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, from where their fleet took them to New York City. The British reported losses of 65 killed, 155 wounded, and 64 missing; the Americans listed 69 killed, 161 wounded, and 130 missing. General Lee was subsequently court-martialed and suspended from service for disobedience and misbehavior. Washington's army moved northward, crossed the Hudson, and occupied positions at White Plains, New York
  13. Savannah, 29 December 1778 and 16 September-10 October 1779. The fighting at Savannah, Georgia, on these two occasions is represented by a single streamer. In the first battle, a British expeditionary force that had landed on the Savannah River below the town overwhelmed and outmaneuvered the American defending force under General Robert Howe, and Savannah was captured. The following year D'Estaing's French fleet returned from the West Indies to the southern coast and began to debark troops at Beaulieu, Georgia, 14 miles south of Savannah, with the intention of attacking the British at Savannah. A combined force of 1,500 Americans under General Lincoln and more than 5,000 Frenchmen from D'Estaing's fleet laid siege to Savannah, which was defended by about 3,200 British regulars. D'Estaing's fears for the safety of the French fleet led to an early Franco-American attack on the entrenched British, which was repulsed with 828 casualties. British losses were 103.
  14. Camden, 16 August 1780. An encounter between the main British/Hessian force in the Carolinia's, 2,200 troops under General Cornwallis, and a newly raised American force of 4,100 under Horation Gates and Baron de Kalb, sent south to retieve the situation following the fall of Charleston. The American centre and left, made up of militia from Virginia and North Carolina, fled at the first impact of the British assault, leaving the Continental regulars on the right to fight on their own. Outflanked, and taken from the rear by cavalry under Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton, the Continentals were overwhelmed and de Kalb killed. British losses were 312. American lossess were 880 killed and wounded, plus 1,000 captured.
  15. Cowpens, 17 January 1781. Cowpens, South Carolina, was the scene of a classic battle, which marked the beginning of the American campaign under General Greene, to drive the British from the south. In terms of duration and actual troops engaged, it was a larger battle than Princeton, and its results—the destruction of an important part of the British army in the south—were incalculable toward ending the war.
  16. Guilford Court House, 15 March 1781. Guilford Court House, North Carolina, was the site of the culminating battle in General Greene's campaign against General Cornwallis. Despite having 4,400 troops, and being on the defensive, General Greene lost agaisnt the able Cornwallis and his 1,900 veteran soldiers in a hard fought engagement that cost the British 500 casualties, and the Americans 1,300. However, Greene could replace his heavier losses, while Cornwallis could not, causing him to retreat to the coast and from there to move to Virginia, where he ultimately became trapped at Yorktown.
  17. Yorktown, 28 September - 19 October 1781. After 1778 the main theater of war shifted to the South as the British concentrated on trying to reestablish their control of that area. By 1781 they were convinced that this could not be accomplished while Virginia continued to serve as a base for American military operations. Hence in January 1781 Clinton sent the American turncoat, Benedict Arnold, with 1,600 British troops to raid up the James River. By late May the British had accumulated about 7,200 men in Virginia, including the remnants (1,500) of Cornwallis' force, which had come up from Wilmington, North Carolina. Cornwallis was given over-all command of British forces in Virginia and in late May and early June led them on raids deep into the state. At first he was opposed only by a numerically greatly inferior force under the Marquis de Lafayette, but in mid-June the later was reinforced by troops under Brig. Gen. Anthony Wayne and Baron von Steuben, drillmaster and inspector general of the Continental Army. Cornwallis then turned back to the coast to establish a base at Yorktown from which he could maintain sea communications with Clinton in New York.
  • Meanwhile, Washington was tentatively preparing his northern army, recently reinforced by about 4,800 French troops under Lt. Gen. Jean B. de Rochambeau, for an attack on New York. However, he received confirmation on 14 August that Adm. Francois de Grasse's fleet had departed the French West Indies with 3,000 troops aboard and would be available for operations in the Chesapeake Bay area until mid-October. Re therefore finally determined to go to Virginia with a substantial part of his army, including the French regulars under Rochambeau. He crossed the Hudson (20-26 August), made a feint in the direction of New York to hold Clinton in the city, and then struck southward across New Jersey and Pennsylvania to Maryland. In the meantime, De Grasse's fleet arrived off Yorktown on 30 August, debarked 3,000 French regulars to reinforce Lafayette, and on 5 September fought an indecisive naval engagement off the Virginia capes with a British fleet under Adm. Thomas Graves. After several days of maneuvering at sea, Graves retired temporarily to New York for repairs, leaving the French fleet in control of Chesapeake Bay. This permitted Washington and Rochambeau to embark their forces in Maryland and sail via the Chesapeake and the James River to a point near Williamsburg (14-24 September). From there an allied army numbering about 15,000-8,845 Americans and 7,800 French moved forward on 28 September to begin siege operations against Yorktown. Finally, after a night attack on 16 October failed to recapture key defense points, Cornwallis requested an armistice (17 October). He surrendered his entire command—about 8,000 men—on 19 October. In the siege the British lost 156 killed and 326 wounded; the Americans, 20 killed and 56 wounded; and the French, 52 killed and 134 wounded. British hopes for victory in America collapsed with Cornwallis' defeat. Lord North's ministry fell in March 1782 and the new cabinet opened direct negotiations with the American peace commissioners in Europe that resulted ultimately in ending the war.

Rank Structure

Comparison of ranking structure available at Ranks and Insignia of NATO.

Template:Ranks and Insignia of NATO/Army/BlankTemplate:Ranks and Insignia of NATO/Army/United States
  • 1 Honorary/War time rank.
Template:Ranks and Insignia of NATO Armies/WO/BlankTemplate:Ranks and Insignia of NATO Armies/WO/United States
Template:Ranks and Insignia of NATO Armies/OR/BlankTemplate:Ranks and Insignia of NATO Armies/OR/United States

The Officer Corps provides leadership and managerial functions, and is composed of

There are several sources of commissioned officers:

Officers receive a commission assigning them to the Officer Corps from the President. The appointments of commision officers can be either in the Regular Army, the Army Reserve (USAR), or the National Guard. Those officers who receive their commision in the USAR, but serve on active duty, upon attaining the rank of Major, can be appointed into the Regular Army by the President with the advice and consent of the United States Senate [1]. Commissioned officers are assigned to a branch of service until they reach the rank of Brigadier General, where it is assumed that they are competent to command soldiers of all branches.

Once commissioned, an officer attends several levels of professional education, starting with branch qualification in their respective branch and concluding in Command and General Staff College at Fort_Leavenworth, Kansas. Professional education is required for promotion at certain grades.

The Warrant Officer is a single track specialty officer. Initially appointed an officer by the Secretary of the Army via a warrant, he/she is commissioned by the President upon promotion to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Two (CW2). The warrant officer is managed as a company grade officer, but receives limited field grade privilege upon promotion to Chief Warrant Officer Four (CW4).

The primary source for Warrant Officers is the U.S. Army Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

The Non-Commissioned Officer Corps (or NCO Corps) is the first line of leadership for the enlisted members of the Army, and includes the ranks of

  • Corporal (CPL; pay grade E-4) (two stripes pointing up, called chevrons) ),
  • Sergeant (SGT; pay grade E-5) (three chevrons),
  • Staff Sergeant (SSG; pay grade E-6) (three chevrons and one rocker, a curved stripe at the bottom),
  • Sergeant First Class (SFC; pay grade E-7) (three chevrons and two rockers),
  • Master Sergeant (MSG; pay grade E-8) (three chevrons and three rockers),
  • First Sergeant (1SG; pay grade E-8) (which holds the same enlisted pay grade as Master Sergeant, but which carries extra administrative duties - three chevrons and three rockers with a lozenge in the center),
  • Sergeant Major (SGM; pay grade E-9) (three chevrons and three rockers with a star in the center),
  • Command Sergeant Major (CSM; pay grade E-9) (three chevrons and three rockers with a wreathed star in the center)
  • and Sergeant Major of the Army (of whom there is only one, and who advises the Chief of Staff of the Army on matters relating to enlisted personnel - three chevrons and three rockers with a centered eagle accompanied with two stars).
U.S. Army recruitment poster

Training for NCOs takes place at any of the various NCO training centers around the world.

Until relatively recent history, most countries depended upon their officer corps to micromanage strategy, tactics and virtually every other aspect of military operations. Current military theory in the U.S. and UK has begun to emphasize the "strategic corporal," recognizing that combat decision-making by NCOs is potentially of vast importance.

The lowest enlisted ranks are:

  • Private (PV1; pay grade E-1) (no rank insignia),
  • Private Enlisted Grade 2 (PV2; pay grade E-2) (one chevron),
  • Private First Class (PFC; pay grade E-3) (one chevron and one rocker),
  • and Specialist (SPC; pay grade E-4) (which is the same Enlisted Grade as Corporal, but which requires technical leadership skills, as opposed to the combat leadership skills required of corporal -a dark green patch with an eagle centered). A Specialist ranks below a corporal in terms of chain of command.

Training for enlisted soldiers usually consists of Basic Training, and Advanced Individual Training in their primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) at any of the numerous MOS training facilities around the world.

All members of the Army must take an oath upon being sworn in as members, swearing (or affirming) to "protect the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic." This emphasis on the defense of the United States Constitution illustrates the concern of the framers that the military be subordinate to legitimate civilian authority.


Since World War II, the Army has maintained three distinct types of uniforms: Full Dress, Service/Garrison Dress, and Combat Dress.

The Full Dress uniform, known today as Army Blue, is worn for most ceremonial duties in most Stateside posts, especially those attached to the 3rd Infantry Regiment in Washington, D.C. This uniform, adopted in present form in 1955, consists of a dark blue open-fronted coat with white shirt and black necktie, and light blue trousers, all trimmed in gold (the U.S. Marine Corps dress blues has a "choker collar" coat and scarlet trim). It is worn with a dark blue saucer cap, with officers rank insignia being worn on rectangluar epaulettes in the color of their branch of service. General officers wear a similar uniform, but with dark blue trousers in place of light blue ones, along with their distinctive General officer's insignia. A bowtie, worn in place of the necktie, is used when the uniform is worn when attending events similar to that of a "black-tie" function.

The Service/Garrison uniform, introduced in the mid-1950's and replacing the Olive Drab uniforms worn since 1902, consists of an "Army Green" coat and trousers similar in design to the Army Blue uniform. Between the introduction of the uniform and the mid-1980's, the uniform was worn with a tan shirt and black necktie, but has since been replaced with a light green shirt. Enlisted members wear rank on both sleeves, while officers have their insginia on the epaulets. In addition, officers uniforms have black mohair bands on the coat cuffs and mohair stripes on the trousers. Since 2001, the uniform has been worn with the U.S. Army's general service black beret, which was worn only by Ranger regiments, prior to its service-wide introduction. Although regular units wear black shoes, with boots, ascot scarves, and pistol belts being worn only for parade dress functions, Airborne, Ranger, and Special Forces (green beret) units wear "Corcoran" jump boots with the trousers bloused into them.

The Combat uniform, known throughout recent history as "fatigues," or "BDUs," has undergone the most changes since World War II. Introduced as a one-piece coverall, it was later changed to a two-piece shirt/trousers design by the end of World War II, and was the most-seen uniform during the Cold War. A two-piece "jungle fatigue" uniform, introduced during the Vietnam War, was modified in the 1980's with a woodland and "six-color" desert pattern, and replaced the old-style fatigues by Operation Desert Shield/Storm. The desert pattern changed after Operation Desert Storm to a 3-color pattern, used by Operation Iraqi Freedom, but the introduction of the new MARPAT digital pattern uniform for U.S. Marines and Navy Combat Corpsmen prompted the Army to introduce its new "Army Combat Uniform," or ACU in 2005. Identical to the Marine's uniform, in terms of pocket layout, the ACU differs only with the cammoflague pattern--the elimination of black squares allow the uniform to be worn in all non-polar terrains throughout the world, thus the same uniform can be worn in the Black Forest in Germany, to the deserts of the Southwest U.S. or Southwest Asia. The ACU also features, for the first time since WW2, rough-hide brown leather boots, which allows easier care, than their black leather counterparts worn since 1955. The new boots replaces the black "speed-lace" all-leather boots and the leather/canvas "jungle" boots worn since Vietnam. The combat uniform is worn with the beret for garrison (base) duties, with a visor cap for non-combat patrols and "kevlar" helmet and body armor for combat duties.


File:United States army.JPG
U.S. Army soldiers boarding a plane

The civilian executive is the Secretary of the Army who heads the United States Department of the Army, formerly called the Secretary of War who headed the United States Department of War or the War Office for short, at the founding of the Republic.

The professional head of the United States Army is the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA). This position is filled by a four star general who sits on the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. As with the other members of that committee, the Army Chief of Staff is not in the direct chain of command over combatant forces. His function is administrative and policy making. The current Army Chief of Staff is General Peter J. Schoomaker.

The most senior Army generals who are directly in the chain of command are those who command a Unified Combatant Command, known as the Combatant Commanders (COCOM's). An example is General John Abizaid, the commander of U.S. Central Command. Three star positions in the Army include some deputy commanders of the Combatant Commands, the heads of the army components of the Combatant Commands and general officers commanding an army corps.

Major Commands of the United States Army

Major Command and Commanders Location of Headquarters
United States Army War College (USWC) Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Intelligence & Security Command (INSCOM) MG John F. Kimmons Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Criminal Investigation Command (CID)
MG Donald J. Ryder
Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Corps of Engineers (USACE)
LTG Carl A. Strock
Washington, D.C.
United States Army Military District of Washington (MDW)
MG Guy C. Swan III
Fort McNair, Washington D.C.
Medical Command (MEDCOM)
LTG Kevin C. Kiley
Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Army Materiel Command (AMC)
GEN Benjamin S. Griffin
Fort Belvoir, Virginia
Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
LTG Anthony R. Jones (acting)
Fort Monroe, Virginia
Forces Command (FORSCOM)
GEN Dan K. McNeill
Fort McPherson, Georgia
US Army South (USARSO)
MG Jack D. Gardner
Fort Sam Houston, Texas
Special Operations Command (USASOC)
LTG Philip R. Kensinger
Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC)
MG Charles W. (Charlie) Fletcher, Jr.
Fort Eustis, Newport News, Virginia
Space & Missile Defense Command (SMDC) LTG Joseph M. Cosumano, Jr. Arlington, Virginia
8th US Army (EUSA)
LTG Charles C. Campbell
Yongsan Army Garrison, Seoul
Army Pacific Command (USARPAC)
LTG John M. Brown III
Fort Shafter, Hawaii
US Army Europe & 7th Army (USAREUR) GEN B. B. Bell Campbell Barracks, Heidelberg, Germany
Army Central Command (ARCENT)
LTG R. Steven Whitcomb
Fort McPherson, Georgia
Army Reserve Command (ARC)
LTG James R. Helmly
Fort McPherson, Georgia
Army National Guard (ARNG)
LTG Roger G. Schultz
Washington, D.C.

Formations of the United States Army

First Army "First In Deed" (Reserve)

78th "Lightning" Division, Edison, NJ (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2d Brigade (Training Support)
3d Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)
5th Brigade "We Dare" (Training Support)
85th "Custer" Division (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2d Brigade (Training Support)
3d Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)
87th Division "Golden Acorn", Birmingham, AL (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2d Brigade (Training Support)
3d Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)
5th Brigade (Training Support)
Army Units
4th Cavalry Brigade (Training Support)
157th Infantry Brigade (Training Support)
188th Infantry Brigade (Training Support)
205th Infantry Brigade (Separate) (Light)

Third Army: Army Central Command (ARCENT)

Army Prepositioned Stock (APS-3)
Army Prepositioned Stock (APS-5)

Fifth Army (Reserve)

7th Infantry Division "Bayonets", Fort Carson, CO (Light)
39th Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate)
41st Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate)
45th Infantry Brigade (Light) (Separate)
75th Division, Houston, TX (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2d Brigade (Training Support)
3d Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)
91st Division, Dublin, CA (Training Support)
1st Brigade (Training Support)
2d Brigade (Training Support)
3d Brigade (Training Support)
4th Brigade (Training Support)
Army Units
5th Armored Brigade (Training Support)
120th Infantry Brigade (Training Support)
166th Aviation Brigade (Training Support)
191st Infantry Brigade (Training Support)

Seventh Army: United States Army Europe

V Corps, Heidelberg, Germany
1st Infantry Division ("The Big Red One") — Würzburg, Germany
1st Armored DivsionWiesbaden, Germany

Eighth Army: South Korea

2d Infantry Division ("Indian Head" Division) — Camp Red Cloud, South Korea
25th Infantry Division (Light) ("Tropic Lightning") — Schofield Barracks, Hawaii
I Corps, Fort Lewis, Washington ("America's Corps")
3d Brigade, 2d Infantry Division (Light)
1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division (Light)
III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas
1st Cavalry Division
4th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
--III Corps U.S. Army National Guard
7th Infantry Division (Light) ("Bayonet" Division) — Fort Carson, Colorado
XVIII Airborne Corps
3d Infantry Division (Mechanized) ("Rock of the Marne") — Fort Stewart, Georgia
1st Brigade (Raiders) "E Pluribus Unum"
2d Brigade (Spartan) "Send Me"
3d Brigade (Sledgehammer) "Not Pretty Just Tough"
4th Brigade (Vanguard)
10th Mountain Division (Light) — Fort Drum, New York
1st Brigade
2d Brigade
3d Brigade
27th Brigade (Orions) — New York National Guard
82nd Airborne Division (All American)— Fort Bragg, North Carolina
82d Aviation Brigade
325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
1st Battalion 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
2d Battalion 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
3d Battalion 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment
504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
1st Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
2d Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
3d Battalion 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
1st Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
2d Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
3d Battalion 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) (Screaming Eagles) — Fort Campbell, Kentucky
101st Aviation Brigade
159th Aviation Brigade
327th Parchute Infantry Regiment ("Bastogne")
1st Battalion 327th PIR
2d Battalion 327th PIR
3d Battalion 327th PIR
502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment ("Strike")
1st Battalion 502nd PIR
2nd Battalion 502nd PIR
3rd Battalion 502nd PIR
187th Parachute Infantry Regiment ("Rakkasans")
1st Battalion 187th PIR
2nd Battalion 187th PIR
3rd Battalion 187th PIR
XVIII Airborne Corps Artillery
18th Field Artillery Brigade
2d Armored Cavalry Regiment
16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne)
18th Aviation Brigade (Airborne)
20th Engineer Brigade (Combat)(Airborne)
35th Signal Brigade (Airborne)
108th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
229th Aviation Regiment (Attack)
1-229th Attack Helicopter Battalion
3-229th Attack Helicopter Regiment
525th Military Intelligence Brigade (Airborne)

24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) — Fort Riley, Kansas


Infantry equipment

According to internal doctrine, the US Army relies on the best equipped and trained individual soldier as possible as the basic element, and aims to multiply his effectivness with the most advanced tactics possible. This has indeed made the US Army the most advanced land force in the world, but has also caused new problems. Since this doctrine causes high expenses on each soldier, it has made warfare very expensive, which coming closer to a financial limit to leading a war more and more probable.

Infantry weapons


Other personal equipment


The US Army is highly focused on mobility, and therefore maintains a diverse inventory of vehicles.

Armored vehicles



Transport & Supply Vehicles

Air Vehicles

See also

External/Internal links

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