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Veterans Corner #13 - What is the Military?

What is the military?  In simple terms, the U.S. Armed Forces are made up of the six military branches, Air ForceArmyCoast GuardMarine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, National Guard and, most recently, Space Force.  There are three general categories of military people, active duty (full-time soldiers and sailors), reserve and guard forces (usually work a civilian job but can be called to full-time military duty), and veterans and retirees (past members of the military). And of course, there are the millions of family members and friends of military members, past and present.  The proper military flag order was prescribed on October 31, 1977, by the U.S. Department of Defense Directive 1005.8.  It states that from left to right, the prescribed peacetime military branch flag order is, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.  The Military is made up of six branches, each with their own active-duty and part-time components.  Each varies in service commitment, location and how its members contribute to the overall mission of protecting our country, and basically the world, though all components are on the same rank-based pay scale.  For this month’s Veterans Corner article #13 we will focus on the United States Marine Corps.


The United States Marine Corps (USMC), also referred to as the United States Marines, is the maritime land force service branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for conducting expeditionary and amphibious operations through combined arms, implementing its own infantry, armor, artilleryaerial and special operations forces. The U.S. Marine Corps is one of the eight uniformed services of the United States.  The Marine Corps has been part of the U.S. Department of the Navy since June 30, 1834, over 187 years ago, with its sister service, the United States Navy.  The USMC operates installations on land and aboard sea-going amphibious warfare ships around the world.  Additionally, several of the Marines’ tactical aviation squadrons, primarily Marine Fighter Attack squadrons, are also embedded in Navy carrier air wings and operate from the aircraft carriers.  The history of the Marine Corps began when two battalions of Continental Marines were formed on November 10, 1775, in Philadelphia as a service branch of infantry troops capable of fighting both at sea and on shore.  In the Pacific theater of World War II the United States Marine Corps took the lead in a massive campaign of amphibious warfare, advancing from island to island.  As of 2017, the USMC has around 182,000 active-duty members and some 38,500 personnel in reserve.  As previously mentioned, the Continental Marines was founded on November 10, 1775, over 246 years ago, and renamed as its current service, the United States Marine Corps on July 11, 1798, over 223 years ago.