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US Army's 243rd birthday 2018: military facts, figures, and history

The Army's birthday cake is seen at the NATO Resolute Support mission headquarters dining facility on Thursday, June 14, 2018, in Kabul, Afghanistan.

CHAD GARLAND/STARS AND STRIPES

By LEADA GORE | Alabama Media Group, Birmingham | Published: June 14, 2018

(Tribune News Service) — The Army is celebrating its 243rd birthday on June 14, commemorating the date in 1775 when the Continental Congress authorized enlistment of expert riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year.

The new forces were comprised of 22,000 militiamen who had already gathered outside of Boston, plus 5,000 more in New York. On June 15, 1775, the Continental Congress named George Washington of Virginia as commander-in-chief and voted to raise 10 more companies of riflemen from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.

Washington officially took command at Boston on July 3, 1775. The original Congressional appropriation to fund the new Army was $2 million. It took another year - July 4, 1776 to be exact - for the Continental Army and the militia to become known collectively as the Army of the United States, instead of the Army of the United Colonies.

Today, the Army has about 467,000 active duty soldiers, with another 343,000 in the U.S. Army National Guard and 206,000 in the Army Reserves.

The Army's birthday is marked with celebrations, military balls and traditional cake-cutting ceremonies held at military bases and communities across the country and at overseas installations.

This year's theme is "Over There! A Celebration of Army Heroes from WWI to Present Day."

More Army facts:

  • During World War II, supporting one soldier on the battlefield took one gallon of fuel per day. Today, the Army uses more than 22 gallons per day, per soldier.
  • The Army has 158 installations worldwide; more than 132,000 miles of infrastructure for electric, gas, sewer and water; and over one billion square feet of office space.
  • The Army owns more than 15 million acres of land across the United States, or about 24,000 square miles which, if the Army was a state, it would be the 42nd largest.
  • Twenty-four U.S presidents served in the Army
  • The U.S Army is the second largest employer in the U.S

©2018 Alabama Media Group, Birmingham
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