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Branches Of The U.S. Military

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Separated into five service branches, the United States armed forces is one of the world’s largest militaries. Consisting mainly of volunteer recruits, the U.S. military is steeped in history and tradition. The five branches of the armed forces include the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Each of these branches has different duties, and differing training regimens. While the Army is the primary force on the ground, the Air Force takes care of the skies. Meanwhile, the Navy is the force on the seas, and the Marines are the cream-of-the-crop. The Coast Guard primarily handles law enforcement and rescues on the water. In this video, WatchMojo.com explores the different branches of the United States military.
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Branches of the U.S. Armed Forces


The United States armed forces is broken up into five service branches: The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. In total, the U.S. military is one of the world’s largest, and today this pool of recruits consists primarily of volunteers.

U.S. Army


The oldest and largest of the five military services, the U.S. Army is the country’s primary force on the ground. With the motto, “This we’ll defend,” the Army was established to protect the U.S. and its interests by using troops, tanks, artillery, and more. The Continental Army was set up on June 14th, 1775, and by 1784 it had been disbanded and was replaced by the United States Army. Broken into three components, today’s active duty army is supported by two reserve units, the Army Reserves and the National Guard. Recruits live by a set of core values that include Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. Together, these values form the acronym LDRSHIP.

U.S. Marine Corps


Established as the Continental Marines on November 10th, 1775, the U.S. Marine Corps was originally created as a landing force for the Navy. By 1798, the modern Marine Corps was born, and the group specialized in obtaining and maintaining control of beachheads. By establishing themselves on these sections of enemy shoreline, the Marines lead the way for attacks on opponents from virtually any direction. More lightweight and mobile than the Army, Marines can be deployed quickly. This is one reason they have served in almost every military conflict in American history. Known for being the cream of the crop, the Marines train harder and longer than other branches, with a rigorous 12-week-long bootcamp challenging them physically and mentally. Their motto, “Semper Fidelis,” or “always faithful” is a testament to their fiercely loyal attitude.

U.S. Navy


The Continental Congress established the Navy at the same time as they founded Army in 1775. Today, the United States Navy is by far the largest in the world. Its primary job has always been to preserve the freedom of the seas, and to guard the country against adversaries. During conflicts, the Navy enhances the power of the Air Force. The Navy deploys their aircraft carriers in areas where permanent landing strips are not viable, and carries roughly 80 aircraft per carrier. They can also attack targets on land using guns and missiles, and use their submarines to strike at an enemy’s shores. The Navy also aids the Marines by bringing them to the battle zones. Like the Army and Air Force, the Navy is reinforced by Reserves. However, unlike the Army and Air Force, there are no state-run Naval National Guards. The motto of the Navy is “honor, courage, commitment,” and these are the rules by which each member lives.

U.S. Air Force


Established in 1947, the Air Force is the youngest of the military branches. It was World War II that illustrated to the United States the importance of air power. Prior to that time, the main task of the Air Force was to support forces on the ground. Since then, they have been a separate service, with the motto “Aim High ... Fly-Fight-Win.” Therefore, as it is the Army’s responsibility to protect the U.S. and its interests on the ground, the Air Force does the same in air and space. This includes the use of a variety of different aircraft, as well as military satellites. Similar to the Army, the Air Force is enhanced by the Air Force Reserves and National Guard.
Founded in 1790 as the Revenue Cutter Service, by 1915 the U.S. Coast Guard was formed. The smallest of the U.S. military services, the Coast Guard is unique in that it has several missions. During times of peace, their primary task is the enforcement of both domestic and international laws, as well as boat safety and rescues. However, during wars, the Coast Guard can be operated as a service in the Department of the Navy. Comprised of boats, ships, aircraft and coastal stations, they are sometimes supported by the Coast Guard Reserves and the volunteer Coast Guard Auxiliary, when necessary. Their motto “Semper paratus,” means, “always ready,” and refers to the high level of preparedness expected of the Coast Guard.

Dating back even before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the United States military is a sacred institution that has played a huge role in the history of both the U.S. and the world.
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