Articles

June 14: The Birthday of the U.S. Army

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On April 19, 1775, British troops fired on colonial militiamen at Lexington, Massachusetts. Two months later on June 14, 1775, the Continental Congress voted to create the Continental Army as a united colonial response against the British enemy.
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Crossing The Delaware

Painting showing Washington and his men in boats crossing an icy river

Far from the heady days of Independence in the summer of 1776, December found George Washington’s Continental Army worn down and nearing defeat. Knowing that bold action was needed to keep the cause of independence alive, Washington sought an opportunity.
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United States Colored Troops in the American Civil War

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In May 1863, the United States War Department issued General Order 143 to standardize the enlistment and training of African American Soldiers under the control of official War Department policy. Two years after the first shots of the Civil War were fired, the United States Colored Troops (USCT) were born.
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The 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment

Painting of Black Civil War Soldiers in the midst of battle helping a wounded white officer

On July 18, 1863, a large force of Soldiers advanced in formation towards enemy fortifications outside of Charleston, South Carolina. As the sun set, the Confederate defenders opened fire on the 5,000 strong assault force.
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Hispanic Americans in the Civil War

Painting of cavalry unit riding through a valley

While some Hispanic Americans joined the rebellion and served in the Confederate Army, far more answered the call to service in Union ranks. Since the term “Hispanic” was not yet a category of race in the Union Army, the total number of Hispanic Americans who served is unknown, but modern estimates assume 10,000 Soldiers fought to defend the Union.
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The Origins of Memorial Day

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While many Americans celebrate Memorial Day with barbeques and picnics, the original intent of the holiday, to honor fallen Soldiers, has a long history. Memorial Day’s origins are shrouded in uncertainty, and historians are still trying to uncover its full story.
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Buffalo Soldiers

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After the Civil War, the U.S. government struggled to find a place for its Black troops in a smaller postwar Army. In 1866, the Army decided to form the 9th and 10th Cavalry and 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments to replace the U.S. Colored Troops. These four regiments distinguished themselves during Westward Expansion where they became known as “Buffalo Soldiers.”
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The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Three Soldiers in dress blue uniforms stand at attention in front of the Tomb. Two Soldiers face each other holding guns across their chests.

Americans have long sought ways to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to their country. Today in Arlington, Virginia, the public is welcome to do so daily by bearing witness to the Changing of the Guard.
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World War I Code Talkers

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In 1918, Army officials strategized a way to use Native languages as a code after hearing Indigenous Soldiers talking in their language. The Native Code Talkers of World War I used their languages to aid in the war effort at a ti when there was a push to strip away Native cultural identities and languages.
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The Attack on Pearl Harbor

small boat in the foreground with listing and burning ships in the background

On the morning of December 7, 1941, servicemen stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, attended to their daily duties. At 7:55 a.m. HST, hundreds of Japanese planes released bombs and torpedoes onto the Army and Navy facilities at Pearl Harbor. The attack not only inducted the United States into World War II, but also altered the cultural attitude on war for decades to come.
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The 442d Regimental Combat Team

4 Japanese American Soldiers with weapons sitting in a jeep

In the early afternoon of October 27, 1944, a unit of Soldiers navigated through the rugged terrain of the Vosges Forest near the border of France and Germany. Just a few miles from them, the enemy had trapped and surrounded another group of Soldiers, the 141st Infantry Regiment, called the “Lost Battalion.” Isolated and cut off by the enemy, the Nisei Soldiers of the 442d Regimental Combat Team were sent to rescue them.
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Women Air Service Pilots (WASP)

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A select group of women joined the Women Air Service Pilots (WASP). While none of them flew combat missions, these women filled vital roles in the United States alongside male pilots. However, they lacked veteran status for decades.
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The 65th Infantry Regiment

A World War II unit in uniform

In 2016, the 65th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed “Borinqueneers,” received the Congressional Gold Medal for its contributions to the United States. “The service of the men of the 65th Infantry Regiment is emblematic of the contributions to the armed forces that have been made by hundreds of thousands of brave and patriotic United States citizens from Puerto Rico over generations, from World War I to the most recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.”
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The 555th Parachute Infantry Company “Triple Nickles”

A group of paratroopers in full gear prepare to board an airplane
Reflecting attitudes of the day, segregation and racial barriers pervaded the U.S. Army during World War II. Even so, in 1944, a group of Black infantry Soldiers gained entrance to the Army’s elite Airborne School. This new unit became a pioneer in airborne operations, from firefighting to atomic warfare.
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Executive Order 9981

Group of Black and white female Soldiers in dress uniforms

On July 28, 1948, he issued Executive Order 9981 which stated that “for all those who serve in our country’s defense…it is hereby declared…that there shall be quality of treatment and opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” When asked if the order meant an end to segregation, the president stated simply, “Yes.”
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The Army and the Cold War

Mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion

At 5:29 a.m. on July 16, 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated in the New Mexico desert. This test, named the Trinity Test, changed history. In this new atomic age, new superpowers emerged, new alliances were formed, and fear underscored decisions.
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Tunnel Rats of the Vietnam War

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During the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong used tunnel networks as manufacturing, resupply, and planning space. Few Soldiers were willing to follow the guerillas into their lairs. These Soldiers were the “tunnel rats”: volunteer specialists who ventured into the labyrinth knowing that every step in the dark could be their last.
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Pride and Excellence: The First Class of Women at West Point

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On July 7, 1976, the first women arrived at West Point for “Reception Day” and the start of their Cadet Basic Training. They represented the very best of their respective home towns across the country. Their presence at the military academy followed a rowdy public debate within West Point and the nation they sought to serve.
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