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The Military of the United States

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The military of the United States, officially known as the United States Armed Forces, consists of five of the seven federal uniform services: the United States Army, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Navy, the United States Air Force, and the United States Coast Guard. Approximately 1.4 million personnel are currently on active duty in the military, with an additional 1,359,000 personnel in the seven reserve components. The Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military is the President of the United States. With a strength of 2.26 million personnel, including reserves, the United States armed forces are the second-largest in the world, after the People's Liberation Army of China, and have troops deployed around the globe. As in most militaries, members of the U.S. armed forces hold a rank, either that of officer or enlisted, and can be promoted.

State Defense Forces are militia units operating under the sole authority of a state government or governor, and are distinct from the National Guard in that they are not federal military forces. Authorized by state and federal law, State Defense Forces as a whole "may not be called, ordered, or drafted into the armed forces" (of the United States) under 32 U.S.C. § 109 however the subsection further states that individuals serving in the State Defense Forces are not exempt from conscription. Including Puerto Rico, approximately twenty-five states have active State Defense Forces that can be called upon during emergency management and homeland security missions.

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The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is the Cabinet organization that controls the U.S. military, headquartered at the Pentagon. The Secretary of Defense also oversees the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, and civilian agencies such as the Inspector General, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. The DoD is the largest employer in the United States.

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The military history of the United States spans a period of over two centuries, during which the United States grew from an alliance of thirteen British colonies without a professional military, to the world's sole remaining military superpower as of 2008.

The history of the United States military begins in civilian frontiersmen, armed for hunting and basic survival in the wilderness that were organized into local militias for small military operations, mostly against Native American tribes but also to resist possible raids by the small military forces of neighboring European colonies.

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The Ardennes Offensive, officially named the Battle of the Ardennes and known to the general public as the Battle of the Bulge, started on December 16, 1944. It was supported by subordinate operations known as Hermann, Greif, and Wahrung, by the Germans. The goal of these operations were to split the Allied line in half, capturing Antwerp and then proceeding to encircle and destroy four Allied armies, forcing the Western Allies to negotiate a peace treaty in the Axis' favour. The "bulge" refers to the extension of the German lines in this battle, forming a growing salient into Allied controlled territory, seen clearly in maps presented in newspapers of the time.

Although the German objective was ultimately unrealized, the Allies' slow response to the penetration set their own offensive timetable back by months. The offensive was also counter-productive as many experienced units of the German army were left depleted and in a poor state of supply outside the defenses of the Siegfried Line. In numerical terms, the Battle of the Ardennes was the largest land battle in the history of the U.S. Army.

Selected pictures

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Credit: The National Archives, User:Cryptic

Da Nang, Vietnam...A young Marine private waits on the beach during the Marine landing.


January 17


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United States
Military history
United States military history



The M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle is a highly durable military motor vehicle. It has largely supplanted the role formerly served by the Jeep and other light trucks with the United States military.

There are at least 17 variants of the HMMWV in service with the United States armed forces. HMMWV serve as cargo/troop carriers, automatic weapons platforms, ambulances, M220 TOW missile carriers, M119 howitzer prime movers, M-1097 Avenger Pedestal Mounted Stinger platforms, MRQ-12 direct air support vehicles, S250 shelter carriers among many others.

Units and Awards

Selected biography


Benjamin Franklin Tilley (March 29, 1848 – March 18, 1907), was a career officer in the United States Navy who served from the end of the American Civil War through the Spanish–American War. He is best remembered as the first Acting-Governor of American Samoa.

Tilley entered the United States Naval Academy during the height of the Civil War. Graduating after the conflict, he gradually rose through the ranks. As a lieutenant, he participated in the United States military's crackdown against workers in the wake of the Great Railroad Strike of 1877. During the Chilean Civil War of 1890, Tilley and a small contingent of sailors and marines defended the American consulate in Santiago, Chile. As a commander during the Spanish-American War, Tilley and his gunship, the USS Newport, successfully captured two Spanish Navy ships. After the war, Tilley was made the first acting-Governor of Tutuila and Manua (later called American Samoa) and set legal and administrative precedents for the new territory. Near the conclusion of his 41 years of service, he was promoted to rear admiral, but died shortly afterwards from pneumonia.

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