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The United States Army

The United States Army is the country’s main branch of the Armed Forces. It was officially created by the Congress of the Confederation on June 3, 1784 as a replacement for the disbanded Continental Army, which was active from 1775 to that time. The U.S. Army traces its origin to the establishment of the Continental Army and as a result, dates its inception to 1775.

The Army is the land-based branch of the United States military. Its mission is to “provide necessary forces and capabilities … in support of the National Security and Defense Strategies.” As of the 2010 fiscal year, the U.S. Army’s strength was made up of over 1.1 million soldiers, including:

  • 561,979 Regular Forces
  • 362,015 Army National Guardsmen
  • 205,281 Army Reservists

United States Army Mission

The U.S. Army has a role to play in peacetime, in times of conflict and when the country is at war. During peacetime, soldiers may be involved in peacekeeping missions. Bringing humanitarian and disaster relief assistance to areas of the world where the help is needed is an important part of the Army’s function.

During times of conflict, Army personnel may be deployed to provide assistance for antiterrorism missions, to support the insurgency in other nations or to facilitate the evacuation of non-combatants. When called on for combat missions, the U.S. Army can participate in limited warfare, as part of a joint force or work with other nations’ Armed Forces on a large scale as required.

United States Army Careers and Skills Development

U.S. Army personnel perform a number of different kinds of jobs. The military recruits individuals for a number of entry-level jobs, such as positions in the infantry. Training is provided for these positions. While the work that an member of the infantry performs doesn’t have a civilian counterpart, this choice does provide soldiers with some transferable skills, such as being able to follow instructions/orders carefully and teamwork.

The Army has a policy of marking a soldier’s achievements by awarding military badges. A soldier who passes basic weapons training is awarded a badge, and those who have met qualification standards for specific types of weaponry (machine gun, grenade, field artillery, mortar, missile, etc.) receive qualification bars. Other badges are awarded to recognize those who have distinguished themselves on the battlefield or through consistent, dedicated effort.

Other types of work performed by Army personnel requires higher education, and there are a number of education benefits offered by the Armed Forces to personnel who have completed a minimum amount of active duty service. U.S. Army personnel who wish to become commissioned officers will need to complete the requirements for a degree to be considered for a promotion.

Soldiers can choose to work toward a degree or certificate while serving or save their education benefits to pursue higher education after they have been honorably discharged from the Service. The education benefits plans offered by the U.S. Army give the soldier several years to complete a degree program after returning to civilian life.

Army Education Guide

Below we’ve included some resources to assist members of the US Army in their educational pursuits: