How do the different branches of our military preserve freedom?

U.S. Army

The Army is the oldest and largest branch of the military and was established in 1775. The Army is considered to be the ground force of the military. Even though there are aviation units within the Army, their main missions are on the ground and the majority of the soldiers who serve have a job related to ground forces. The Army’s mission is to fight and win our nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders. This is accomplished by:

  • Executing Title 10 and Title 32 United States Code directives, to include organizing, equipping and training forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land.
  • Accomplishing missions assigned by the President, Secretary of Defense and combatant commanders, and transforming for the future.

Source: Sgt. Maj. of the Army (Ret.) Jack L. Tilley

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag.”
— Father Denis Edward O’Brien

The United States Army’s website

U.S. Marines

On 10 November 1775 the second Continental Congress authorized the raising of two battalions of Marines. From this small beginning we have seen the United States Marine Corps grow into a powerful force for the nation’s security. The Marine Corps, within the Department of the Navy, shall be so organized as to include not less than three combat divisions and three air wings, and such other land combat, aviation, and other services as may be organic therein. The Marine Corps shall be organized, trained, and equipped to provide fleet marine forces of combined arms, together with supporting air components, for service with the fleet in the seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign. In addition, the Marine Corps shall provide detachments and organizations for service on armed vessels of the Navy, shall provide security detachments for the protection of naval property at naval stations and bases, and shall perform such other duties as the President may direct. However, these additional duties may not detract from or interfere with the operations for which the Marine Corps is primarily organized. The Marine Corps shall develop, in coordination with the Army and the Air Force, those phases of amphibious operations that pertain to the tactics, technique, and equipment used by landing forces. The Marine Corps is responsible, in accordance with integrated joint mobilization plan, for the expansion of peacetime components of the Marine Corps to meet the needs of war.
Source: Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps (Ret.) Alford L. McMichael

“Some people live an entire lifetime and wonder if they have ever made a difference in the world, but the Marines don’t have that problem.”
– Ronald Reagan )

“I am convinced that there is no smarter, handier, or more adaptable body of troops in the world.”
– Sir Winston Churchill, on the USMC

The United States Marine Corps’ website

U.S. Navy

The U.S. Navy is the branch of our armed forces that patrols, protects and maintains the freedom of the sea our country and others use to conduct commerce throughout the world. By virtue of the unique nature of being seaborne, the Navy is able to project power and, if necessary, force anywhere in the world without having to obtain permission to use any other country’s sea, land, or air space. The Navy is extremely versatile, and is capable of projecting power against our enemies from the air, from the land, and from on and below the sea utilizing combat and logistical aircraft, the Navy Seals, aircraft carriers, surface ships, and submarines. On October 13, 1775, the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution creating the Continental Navy and authorizing the purchase of two vessels to be armed for a cruise against British merchant ships. It also authorized the building of thirteen frigates within the following three months. This is the date the Navy celebrates as its birthday. However, with the end of the Revolutionary War, the Continental Navy was disbanded. It was not until the Naval Act of 1794 that a permanent standing U.S. Navy was established. It was created under President John Adams to address piracy against U.S. Merchant shipping in the Mediterranean Sea. It was during this war against the Barbary Pirates that the USS CONSTITUTION, the Navy’s oldest ship still in commission first saw action. The U.S. Navy has been an armed force of our nation in constant service to this day. Today, U.S. Navy Sailors continue to serve their nation much as their ancestors did. They primarily deploy aboard ships that sail to the far corners of the globe protecting the interests of our country and displaying our flag throughout the world. If ordered to do so, they are ever ready to sail in harm’s way to use the world’s most technologically capable weapon systems against those who would threaten freedom of the seas or the interests of our country.
Source: Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (Ret.) James L. Herdt

“It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.”
– George Washington

The United States Navy’s website

U.S. Air Force

In 1907, a few short years after the Wright brothers’ successful first flight, the U.S. Army Signal Corps formed an Aeronautical Division, the precursor to today’s Air Force. From these humble beginnings the Aeronautical Division evolved to become the Air Service, U.S. Army then the U.S. Army Air Corps through the 1920s-30s, and later as the U.S. Army Air Forces beginning in 1941. During WWII, American combat aviation came of age. The U.S. built and deployed the largest air armada to date. At its peak the Army Air Forces numbered 80,000 aircraft and 2.4 million personnel. After WWII, there was a push to unify the military services under one department. The National Security Act of 1947 created the “National Military Establishment” (later renamed the Department of Defense) and formed the U.S. Air Force as an independent military service. Major successes in Korea and Vietnam propelled the Air Force to air domination which continued through the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm in 1991, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last decade. America’s ability to control the skies for the last 50+ years has allowed her ground forces to operate without significant fear of attack from the air. Enormous technological developments brought jet aircraft, long-range bombers, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) to the Air Force’s weapons inventory. Launch vehicles and orbital satellites propelled the Air Force mission into space. More recent advances in computing, communications networking, and the internet expanded the Air Force’s operations into the cyberspace domain. Additionally, advancements in the use of both precision-guided munitions and unmanned aerial vehicles made significant impacts on recent combat operations. Today’s Airmen not only control the skies but can rapidly place specific targets at risk anywhere on the planet with the right effects at the right place at the right time. They bring technology to the warfighters and help integrate joint war-fighting operations. Additionally, they provide expertise in a myriad of other functions such as: nuclear deterrence; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); space system operations; special forces; personnel recovery; and deployment/sustainment operations.
Source: Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force (Ret) Frederick J. “Jim” Finch

US Air Force Fact Sheet

“Not to have an adequate air force in the present state of the world is to compromise the foundations of national freedom and independence.”
– Sir Winston Churchill

The United States Air Force website

U.S. Coast Guard

Since 1790 the Coast Guard has safeguarded our nation’s maritime interests and environment around the world. The Coast Guard is an adaptable, responsive military force of maritime professionals whose broad legal authorities, capable assets, geographic diversity and expansive partnerships provide a persistent presence along our rivers, in the ports, littoral regions and on the high seas. Coast Guard presence and impact is local, regional, national and international. These attributes make the Coast Guard a unique instrument of maritime safety, security and environmental stewardship. The Coast Guard’s official history began on 4 August 1790 when President George Washington signed the Tariff Act that authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce federal tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling. Known variously through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries as the “revenue cutters,” the “system of cutters,” the Revenue Marine, and finally the Revenue Cutter Service, it expanded in size and responsibilities as the nation grew. The service received its present name in 1915 under an act of Congress that merged the Revenue Cutter Service with the U. S. Life-Saving Service. The latter consisted of dozens of stations placed around the nation’s coastlines that were manned by dedicated crews willing to risk their lives to save those in peril on the sea, a role that meshed well with the Revenue Cutter Service’s core missions. Today’s U.S. Coast Guard, with workforce of nearly 50,000 men and women, is a unique force that carries out an array of civil and military responsibilities touching almost every facet of the U.S. maritime environment. For over two centuries the U.S. Coast Guard has safeguarded our Nation’s maritime interests in the heartland, in the ports, at sea, and around the globe, protecting the maritime economy and the environment, defending our nation’s maritime borders, enforcing maritime laws and treaties, and saving those in peril. This history has forged the Coast Guard’s character and purpose as America’s Maritime Guardian — Always Ready for all hazards and all threats.
Source: Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard (Ret.) Vincent W. Patton, III
“The story of the Coast Guard at war is replete with incidents which, in combat or otherwise, demonstrated consummate skill, great devotion to duty, and heroism worthy of special mention in any wartime history of the Service.” – Malcolm F. Willoughby

The United States Coast Guard’s website

The Guard and Reserves

The National Guard dates to before the nation’s birth, tracing its founding to 1636, when the first defensive militias were formed in Massachusetts. It is unique in that it has a dual mission: providing militarily-ready units for service to the states and territories of the United States while remaining on call to contribute militarily-ready units to defend the United States and its interests around the world. When the Air Force was established as its own service outside of the Army in 1947, the Air National Guard was created as well. While the National Guard and Air National Guard have a dual federal-local role, the Reserve components of the military branches are under federal authority and for federal use.
The National Guard website