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U.S. Army by the numbers

  • U.S. Army by the numbers

    From the United States Army's inception in the Revolutionary War to its 244th birthday June 14, this branch our nation's military has served on the front line as America has gone to battle domestically and on foreign soil. At the same time, the Army has made its mark as arguably the most powerful military organization ever to march in step and made untold contributions to the culture and history of the republic.

    Even with its long history and commitment to tradition, the Army has gone through numerous evolutions, particularly with its demographics. The Army is now incredibly diverse, with a healthy number of minorities and women in the enlisted and officer ranks. It also has a rich political history, as out of its ranks have come presidents, senators, and representatives. The Army is a significant force in education, as well: from its service academy at West Point to ROTC and JROTC programs to offering benefits to help veterans pay for college or enabling others to pursue higher learning credits who might otherwise not be able to afford it.

    On the 244th anniversary of the U.S. Army, Stacker takes a close look at the history, trends, demographics, fun facts, and culture that have made the military branch what it is today.

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  • 244th birthday

    The age the Army turned on June 14, 2019. The oldest branch of the U.S. military was officially established on June 14, 1775.

  • 35% of U.S. Armed Forces

    The Army comprises 35% of all American Armed Forces and includes the largest number of officers in uniform. The Army has historically been the largest branch of the military, followed by the Navy, Air Force, and Marines.

  • 469,749 Army soldiers

    There are almost half a million people on active duty in the U.S. Army. The numbers have been steadily decreasing over the past decades, a trend mirrored by other branches of the military. In the 1970s, the Army had nearly 1.5 million members—more than triple the number enlisted today.

  • 336,619 soldiers in the National Guard

    In addition to the more than 300,000 soldiers in the National Guard, there are 190,350 members of the Army National Reserve. Guard soldiers and Army Reserve soldiers are members of the Army who can be called into full-time service to supports the Army's combat efforts. The biggest difference between Guard and Reserve members is that Guard members can serve a dual mission: They can be called to action by either the federal government or state government, while Army Reserve members can only be called up by the federal government.

  • 34 years old

    The maximum age to enlist in the United States Army if a person has no prior military experience is 34. The minimum age to enlist is 17, with parental consent.

  • 22 branches

    The U.S. Army is now divided up into 22 branches such as field artillery and combat medic. The first Army branch was the Infantry, created on the Army's founding date of June 14, 1775. The most recent basic branch created was the Special Forces, born on April 9, 1987.

  • 3,278 days

    U.S. Army Col. James Thompson spent almost nine years—or 3,278 days—as a prisoner of North Vietnam. He was the longest-held POW in American history. Thompson died in 2002.

  • 2.75 million soldiers

    Almost 3 million soldiers fought in the Civil War. The number is comprised of 2 million for the Union Army and 750,000 who fought for the Confederacy.

  • 58 Bridge Combat teams

    Each Bridge Combat team (BCT) in the United States Active Duty Army includes roughly 4,500 soldiers who comprise the building blocks of the Army. There are 31 BCTs in the Regular Army and 27 in the Army National Guard.

  • 13 Four-star generals

    There are 13 U.S. Army generals, 50 lieutenant generals, 121 major generals, and 133 brigadier generals. A general is the highest ranking. Lieutenant generals are often 3-star generals and historically have been second in command. Major generals have two-stars; brigadier generals have one.

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