Harold D. Speakman Post 356

Memorial Day Essay for 2021

1st Place Winner:  Kelsey Beck, 8th Grade, St. Margaret School, Narberth, PA

What is the history of each branch of the United States Military? (Army, Navy, Marine Corp, Air Force, and Coast Guard.)

"The highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one's country - General George S. Patton Jr."

      The United States Military has been defending our nation for nearly two-and-a-half centuries. There will never be enough words to describe the dedication and sacrifices that each and every member has given to this country. The Military consists of five different branches, each with their own deep and absorbing history, that has left behind a long-standing of nobility and strength.

     On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress formed the Continental Army to fight the forces of Britain. George Washington would become Commander-in-Chief, and would lead the colonies to victory. The Army is the oldest branch of the military, and one of the key figures in our country's independence. Today's Army consists of over 700,000 Soldiers. They serve as doctors, lawyers, engineers, and more. After almost two centuries since its founding, the United States Army continues to defend and protect the county and its people.

     The Continental Navy was founded on October 13, 1775 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The history of the Navy is divided into two parts. "The Old Navy", a small, respected force of sailing ships that was founded by George Washington to defend the colonies from British attack.  The Old Navy is most notable for its invention of the ironclads during the American Civil War. The "New Navy" is the result of a modernization effort that began in the 1880s and made it the largest in the world by 1945. The Navy mostly protects the country by sea, however they do also serve by land and air. A very famous elite group within the Navy is the Sea, Air, and Land Forces (SEALs). They undergo the most physically demanding military training, so they can execute the most challenging missions. Within the whole branch, members can choose to focus on more than 60 career specialties such as engineering, medicine, and aviation.

     Technically, the Marine Corps is part of the Department of the Navy, but it does stand alone as a separate branch of the military. It was founded in 1775, but the Marine Corps wasn't actually an independent service until 1834. At first, President Andrew Jackson wanted to add it to the Army. However, after many debates, Congress added it to the Navy, making them "Sister Services". The Marines are often the first on the ground in combat situations. They also serve on Navy ships, protect Naval bases and guard U.S. embassies.

     The history of the United States Coast Guard originates from the Revenue Cutter Service. The Revenue Cutter Service was founded on August 4th, 1790, as part of the Department of the Treasury. It was initiated when the first Congress sanctioned he construction of ten vessels to enforce federal taxes and trade laws and to fend off smuggling. Although the Navy and Coast Guard both travel throughout waterways, they both have very different undertakings. The Coast Guard keeps waterways defended by conducting search and rescue missions, protecting the marine environment, and preventing the smuggling of illegal drugs into the county. The Coast Guard has defended the nation throughout their long, rich history and served prominently in every one of the nation's disputes.

     Originally in the 20th century, the Air Force was created as a unit of the Amy, and was known as the Aeronautical Division. It wasn't until after Word War Il, that the U.S. Air Force was founded as a separate branch of the military. Today,there are more than 332,000 members of the Air Force. Aside from flying the fastest planes in the world, some service members choose to specialize in careers such as engineers, medical professionals, lawyers, and computer sciences.

     The United States Military is home to almost 1.3 million active-duty members. These members make up one of the largest militaries in the world. Each branch works together to safeguard the U.S. from any and all threats, while leaving behind the great of the past to their successors. While working in their own niches, each member serves one great mission, to defend the great country of the United States, and protect its even greater people.