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18 2016

U.S. Army: history and service requirements

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The U.S. Army originated from The Continental Army  on 14 June 1775. The Continental Congress created it as a unified army for the colonies to fight Great Britain. George Washington was appointed as its commander. After the war,  the Continental Army was separated due to distrust of standing armies. However, because of continuing conflict with Native Americans, leaders realized that it was necessary to maintain a trained army and created the Regular Army. As a result of General St. Clair’s defeat at the Battle of the Wabash, the Regular Army was reorganized as the Legion of the United States, which was established in 1791 and then renamed the “United States Army” in 1796.

The U.S. Army is the largest branch of the United States Armed Forces and performs land-based military operations. The Army is part of the Department of the Army, one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense.

The mission of the U.S. Army is “to fight and win our Nation’s wars, by providing prompt, sustained, land dominance, across the full range of military operations and the spectrum of conflict, in support of combatant commanders.”

Section 3062 of Title 10 US Code defines the purpose of the army as:

The Army is made up of two distinct components: the active component and the reserve components. The reserve components are the United States Army Reserve and the Army National Guard..

The Army conducts both operational and institutional missions. The operational Army consists of armies, corps, divisions, brigades, and battalions that conduct operations around the world. The institutional Army helps the operational Army by providing the groundwork necessary to raise, train, equip, deploy, and ensure the readiness of all Army forces.

Today, the Army consists of more than 700,000 Soldiers. You can choose to enter the Army as an enlisted Soldier or as an Officer.


Enlisted Soldiers

Enlisted Soldiers carry out orders and complete missions. Recruits must pass enlistment requirements in order to become a soldier.

Enlistment is the process of taking an oath of U.S. Army service and becoming a Soldier.

Recruits will generally take these five steps to become enlisted Soldiers:

  1. Take the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Your score on this test will determine which Army jobs you are qualified to hold
  2. Pass an Army physical
  3. Meet with a career counselor to discuss and accept your Army job
  4. Take an Oath of Enlistment
  5. Ship to Basic Combat Training with Private ranking

After Basic Combat Training is completed, soldiers attend Advanced Individual Training (AIT) for specialized instruction in the Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) each has chosen. After graduating AIT, soldiers will receive orders to join your unit.

Responsibilities as an enlisted Soldier will depend on career choices. There are many options from which to choose from. For example, there jobs pertaining to intelligence, combat support, law enforcement, arts and media, healthcare and aviation.


General Enlistment Qualifications

To become an enlisted Soldier in the U.S. Army, you must be:

*Some positions may have additional qualifications.


On the other hand, officers are the managers and planners of the Army. There are two types of Officers: traditional commissioned Officers and Warrant Officers.

Commissioned Officers are responsible for planning missions and operations and commanding units and are entrusted with the lives of the Soldiers under their command. The path to becoming an Officer is different than enlisting as a soldier. Officers usually have a college degree and demonstrate outstanding leadership skills.

Warrant Officers have an expertise in a focused, technical career path. Warrant Officers are more focused on advancing within their own career specialties, and training other Soldiers in those specialties.

Soldiers and Officers may serve one of two ways, full-time as active duty members or part-time in the reserves.


Active Duty- Serving Full-time

Active duty Soldiers serve in the Army 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the duration of their service commitment. Service terms typically last two to six years, but service length may vary depending on a unit’s mission. Soldiers are eligible for a two-week leave after six months of deployment.

Soldiers take a test called the Armed Forces Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB). Once the test is completed, soldiers will choose from a list of Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) that match their qualifications.

After Basic Combat Training (BCT) is completed, soldiers move on to Advanced Individual Training (AIT), where they will become experts in the MOS you have chosen.

Army Reserve- Serving As Needed

The Army Reserve is the Army’s extra resources and personnel. Reserve Soldiers perform Army jobs on a part-time basis but still maintain benefits of military personnel. Soldiers spend one weekend a month on duty and two weeks a year in training. Length in the Army Reserve may range from three to six years. Army Reserve service will provide you with the flexibility to live where you choose. Army Reserve Soldiers earn competitive salaries, and have access to a wide range of benefits.


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