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Composed of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, the US Armed Forces is one of the world’s largest and most powerful militaries.

Here are a few things you might not know about the US military.


44. Doesn’t Look a Day Over 2042

The US Army is actually older than the US itself. This makes sense, since the US didn’t become the US until an army was raised to defeat the British. So while the US was founded on July 4th, 1776, the US Army was founded over a year older before that, and officially declared its birthday June 14th, 1775.
American Military Facts

43. You Got Served

Of the 45 Presidents of the United States, 32 of them have served in the military, 15 presidents served in the Army/Army reserve, nine of them served in state militias, six served in the Navy/Naval reserve, two served in the Continental Army.

US Armed Forces Facts

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States

42. They Helped Put America on the Map

The Army was in charge of exploring and mapping most of America. For example, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was composed of Army officers and non-commissioned officers. Now we just get Google to do it.

American Military Facts

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41. Let ‘Er Rip!

The military has a silent version of Velcro that reduces the ripping noise by 95%. However the military has started replacing Velcro with buttons as buttons are silents and are not effected by mud.

US Armed Forces Facts

40. The Day of Days

Armed Forces Day was created in August of 1949 and first observed on May 20th, 1950. It replaced the separate Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Days.

US Armed Forces Facts

39. May I?

Because the National Guard and Reserve units have unique training schedules, they are allowed to celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week at their own convenience anytime during the month of May.

US Armed Forces Facts

38. That Includes the Cheese

The Pentagon contains no marble because it was built during World War II, and Italy, the world’s main source of marble, was an enemy country.

US Armed Forces Facts

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37. Makes Cents

Shops at US military bases around the world will not accept pennies as currency because they aren’t worth the cost of shipping them everywhere.

US Armed Forces Facts

36. A Small Nation

As of 2017, there are 1.4 million personnel on active duty and approximately another 800,000 people in the reserves for a total of 2.2 million. This the entire population of some countries.

US Armed Forces Facts

35. A Deployer Employer

The Army is America’s second largest employer. The largest employer? Walmart. But they don’t have those super awesome tanks. We don’t think.

US Armed Forces Facts

34. Well Isn’t That Special?

The most common rank among Us Army soldiers, by far, is Specialist. Across active duty and reserve ranks, specialists make up over a quarter of the US Army.

US Armed Forces Facts

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33. This Land is Our Land

The Army owns 24,000 square miles of land. If it were a state, it would be the 42nd largest in the US.

US Armed Forces Facts

32. The Forecast was…

In 1942, the US military responded to a suspected Japanese air raid over Los Angeles by firing 1,400 anti-air artillery shells and thousands of .50 caliber rounds. It turned out to be a weather balloon, but they sure showed that weather balloon what’s what.

US Armed Forces Facts

LA harbor lit up with searchlights 

31. Gassy

During World War II, supporting a single soldier on the battlefield cost one gallon of fuel per day. Now, an individual soldier requires more than 22 gallons of fuel per day.

US Armed Forces Facts

30. Really Gassy

The US Army burns through nearly a billion gallons of fuel every year. However, the Department of Defense is been trying to bring down its energy usage citing a dependence on fossil fuels as a major national-security risk and logistical problem for troops in the field.

US Armed Forces Facts

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29. Defense! Defense! Defense!

After World War II, the Department of War was renamed the Department of Defense.

US Armed Forces Facts

28. The Bigliest Military

The US military budget is largest in the world and currently spends around US $600 billion per year, which is more than the next seven nations combined. They have proposed increasing military spending by another $54 billion in 2017.

US Military Facts

27. Say It, Don’t Spray It!

In the 60s, the US military secretly sprayed zinc cadmium sulfide on thousands of people in “a densely populated slum district.” in St. Louis. They said it was a smoke screen test in case the Russians attacked but in 1994 the government revealed it was a part of a biological weapons program known as Operation LAC (Large Area Coverage).

US Armed Forces Facts

A C-119 Flying Boxcar, the type of plane used to release the chemicals 

26. What Happens in Niš

The only direct military confrontation between the US and the USSR happened in October of 1944 over the Serbian town of Niš. Officially, each country mistook the other for Germans but the fine details are still top secret.

US Armed Forces Facts

B-17 hit by flak over Nis

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25. And That’s the Depleted Version

The US and Russian military use extremely dense depleted uranium bullets that can pierce vehicle armor. Once the bullet pierces the armor, it gets sharper and catches fire, hopefully igniting fuel and causing the vehicle to explode.

US Armed Forces Facts

20mm depleted uranium ammunition

24. The Nerve!

The US Army secretly dumped millions of pounds of nerve agents into the ocean in at least 26 locations off both coasts. Ships were loaded with containers of the gasses, towed to deep water dump sites and were sunk. They can’t say exactly where they were dumped because the records are either sketchy, missing, or destroyed.

US Armed Forced Facts

23. Highway to the Danger Zone

Navy recruiters staked out movie theaters after the release of Top Gun in 1986 and, according to the US Navy, the number of men who wanted to become Naval Aviators went up by 500 percent.

US Armed Forces

22. Multipurpose

Part of the standard US military standard Parachute Park Survival Kit (SRU-16) is a non-lubricated condom. Apart from its originally intended function, it can also serve as an emergency canteen capable of holding up to 1 litre of water.

US Armed Forces Facts

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21. All Hail Great Leader

The US Navy has only ever had one ship captured. In 1968, North Korea captured the USS Pueblo, a spy ship. The ship is currently a tourist attraction in Pyongyang.

US Armed Forces Facts

20. These Trucks Were Made For Walking

Also in 1968, the US Army developed a four legged robot called the Walking Truck that was powerful enough to lift a car. It never made it into service because operating it was apparently exhausting, thus defeating the purpose of having a robot in the first place.

US Armed Forces Facts

19. Whatever Floats Your Boat

The US Navy still operates ships with hulls made of wood. These ships, known as avenger-class ships,  are designed to clear mines from important waterways.

US Armed Forces Facts

18. That’s Super

The USS John C. Stennis, a 1,092 foot long nuclear-powered super-carrier has a more powerful air force than 70% of all countries.

US Armed Forces Facts

17. Portraits vs. Landscape

The US Navy has a special research vessel called the FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform) that can operate both vertically and horizontally. Each room has two doors for each configuration and the toilet seats even flip 90 degrees. It also very often confuses other ships, who think it’s a capsized vessel. You could say it… flips people out.

US Armed Forces Facts

16. The Coast with the Most

Every day, the Coast Guard seizes 169 pounds of marijuana and 306 pounds of cocaine, worth about $9,589,000.

US Armed Forces Facts

15. More of a Casual Declaration

US Congress has only officially declared war eleven times. Instead of formally declaring war, the US has instead been using the term “authorization to use military force,” which is really just a euphemism for “opening a can of whoop-ass.”

US Armed Forces Facts

14. Just a Wee Bit Excessive

Since 1945, the United States has produced more than 70,000 nuclear warheads, which is more than all the other nuclear weapon states combined. It would only take a fraction of those warheads to render the earth uninhabitable. The budget for nuclear weaponry actually does not fall under the Department of Defense, but the Department of Energy, which… makes sense.

US Armed Forces Facts

13. Seeing Stars

The United States has not had a 5-Star General since Sept. 22nd, 1950. Only nine people have ever held that distinction.

US Armed Forces Facts

US President Harry Truman pinning the five-star general insignia onto Omar Bradley’s uniform

12. Trash Talk

In Afghanistan, the US military’s psychological warfare department (PSYOPS) used loudspeakers to try to taunt enemy fighters into unwinnable battles by calling them “lady men” and “cowardly dogs.”

US Armed Forces Facts

11. Penta-Gone

A single day in Afghanistan costs the government more than it did to build the entire Pentagon, which means that if it weren’t for the Taliban, we could have SO many Pentagons right now.

US Armed Forces Facts

10. Iraq-ing up a Bill

In 2008, the Pentagon spent more money in five seconds in Iraq than the average American earned in a year.

US Armed Forces Facts

9. The Excess

The Department of Defense Excess Property Program hands out over a half a billion dollars of free surplus military-grade weaponry to state and local law enforcement every year.

US Armed Forces Facts

8. It Only Does Everything

In 2010, the US government used 1,760 PlayStation 3s to build a supercomputer for the Department of Defense because it was both cost and environmentally efficient.

US Armed Forces Facts

7. This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Anymore

Until WWII, the shoulder insignia of the US Army’s 45th Infantry Division contained the swastika, which was a common Native American symbol at the time. And then some guy with a stupid moustache ruined it for everyone.

US Armed Forces Facts

6. Poppycock

In 2007, the US Defense Security Service issued a warning that Canadians were planting spy coins on US army contractors. The coins turned out to be quarters with the colored Remembrance Day poppy.

US Armed Forces Facts

5. Up Up and Away

The US Air Force honors their dead with a fly-by salute known as “The Missing Man” in which the formation flies low and the leader’s wingman performs a rapid climb, representing an ascent to heaven.

US Armed Forces Facts

4. All About Optics

In 1929, US Army Air Corps Colonel John Macready asked Bausch & Lomb, then an optical lens company, to invent sunglasses that would ban the sun’s rays and prevent his pilots from getting headaches. This is how Ray Bans were born.

US Armed Forces Facts

3. Get to Da Choppa!

The reason why many US Army helicopters (Apache, Lakota, Cheyenne) are named after Native American tribes is because the first US Air Force bases were located on native reserves.

US Armed Forces Facts

2. PETA Is Not Impressed

The US Navy has a program that trains sea lions and dolphins to perform tasks such as ship and harbor protection, mine detection and clearance, and equipment recovery. But if there’s anything we’ve learned from Finding Nemo, it’s that seagulls are the ones who are really good at detecting mines.

US Armed Forces Facts

1. Unidentified Jolly Object

On Christmas Eve in 1955, a newspaper ad told kids they could call Santa and published his number. Unfortunately, they published the wrong number and the calls went to US Air Defense Command. The colonel on duty told his team to give kids Santa’s “current location.” This has since become a tradition and they take calls from over 200 countries.

US Armed Forces Facts

Sources: 1 2 3 4 5 6

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