Career as a Military Officer

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Definition: A military officer, a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, is responsible for the protection of U.S. citizens. This is a broad responsibility however and each officer has a distinct role that (s) he plays in the maintenance of national defense. As a member of the military, an officer signs a contract and must serve a number of years before retirement is possible. There are five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Army is the senior service and fight mostly on land. They had around 572,000 personnel in 1993. The Navy is seaborne the force of the U.S. Naval officers and enlisted spend long periods at sea and travel all about the world. In 1993 the Navy had about 510,000 personnel. The Air Force is the newest of the five branches and specializes in aviation and mechanical trades. Over 440,000 people were serving in the Air Force in 1993. The Marine Corps operate on both the land and the sea. They are “first to fight” and establish a front for the other branches to run their campaigns from. The Marines are quite close with the Navy and provide security on ships and bases. They also guard U.S. embassies. There were approximately 178,000 Marines in 1993. The Coast Guard is the smallest of the military services and is in charge of the enforcement of maritime law. They are also responsible for the rescue of those in distress at sea. Unlike the other branches, the Coast Guard is a service of the Department of Transportation except during a war, when they operate as a part of the Navy. (Career Information, 1996, 268, -270) History: America’s first forces of defense were militias of the colonies. The first was Virginia in 1611 Followed by Massachusetts in 1636. The Continental Army was established in 1775 to prepare for the Revolutionary War. Its commander was George Washington. The first Marines were attached to the Army in 1775, but were attached as an independent part of the Navy in 1798 when it was official established. The Marines were made a separate branch of the military in 1834. The Coast Guard was established in 1790 to combat smuggling and remains the oldest seaborne force of the U.S. The Militia act of 1792 pooled the state militias into what would become known as the National Guard after World War I. The war of 1812 started after a series of skirmishes with the French and was the last time the U.S. had to protect itself from foreign invaders. The Civil War was by far the worst war for the U.S.’s Armed Forces. More American soldiers died in the Civil War than any other war. Balloons were used during the Civil War, which was the first use of aircraft by the U.S. military. In 1892 a Balloon Corps was established as part of the Army’s Signal Corps and in 1907 a separate Aeronautical Division was created. The U.S. showed its true military prowess in World War I. Air power had proven itself extremely important and brought about great strategic changes. The Army Air Service was established in 1918 as a separate service though it remained under the Army’s direction. The National Defense Act of 1920 made an order far as standing army of 300,000 men, with additional reserves, but a shortage of funds and social influence led to an era of isolationism for America. At the time Europe entered World War II, America’s Army was only 150,000 active personnel. America was forced to enter World War II after the surprise attack as Pearl Harbor and at its height there were 13 million Americans between all the branches of the Armed Services. Air superiority played a major role in the allied victory of World War II and following the war, in 1947, the Air Force was created. All five branches were unified under the Department of Defense 2 years later. The Coast Guard was placed under the Department of Transportation however, except during wartime when it operates a part of the Navy. Post-World War II America was far from...
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