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Join the celebration of the U.S. Army Birthday on June 14 as we remember its creation in 1775. The army originally consisted of volunteer soldiers with roots to the Continental Army — and was formed to fight the Revolutionary War. Today, as the largest branch of the U.S. military, the proud men and women of the U.S. Army continue to provide peace and security for all of us.
When is Army Birthday 2021?
Happy birthday to the U.S. Army on June 14! What started off as mostly a volunteer service, has evolved into a force to be reckoned with.
History of Army Birthday
The U.S. Army is 245 years old, and counting. That’s a LOT of birthday candles! The annual celebration marks the date in history in 1775 when the Continental Army was formed by the Second Continental Congress and commanded under General George Washington to fight against Britain.
Of course, the U.S. Army wasn’t always the strongest military in the world as it is today. The original ‘army’ was formed from volunteer soldiers, amateur troops, and minutemen, who just had the passion and dedication to defend their land against the British. Actually, military forces existed in the United States before the country even formally existed. Independent colonial armies commanded inexperienced militia.
The Revolutionary War started in America on April 19, 1775, with exchanges of musketry between Massachusetts militiamen and British regulars at Lexington and Concord. As soldiers were alerted in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire, they responded to the alarm, and a state of war was in the air between the British government and the four colonies. Called the Army of Observation, a force of New Englanders surrounded Boston and had the British troops who occupied it under siege, but they needed help. Delegate representatives of all 13 colonies were approached and requested to join them in the battle for American liberty.
When the Continental Army delegates assembled on May 10 in Philadelphia, they learned that British forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point on Lake Champlain in New York were captured by armed men led by Benedict Arnold and Ethan Allen. The situation quickly turned into a crisis, as the delegates realized that the military coup would need to be addressed if the desired reconciliation was to happen. The next step was taken by the Congress, which eventually transformed the small rebellion into a full war for independence. The establishment of the Continental Army resulted in the U.S. Army that we know today.
There was a time when there were never more than 48,000 Continental soldiers. Today, the United States Army boasts over one million soldiers on duty, with an additional 800,000 Reserve- and National Guard members.
The resilience of the U.S. Army and its history is a testimony to how integral the military is in peacekeeping. Gratitude is expressed tremendously on the Army’s Birthday with events and ceremonies.
Army Birthday timeline
Congress approves the raising of 10 companies of riflemen to enlist in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia until the end of the Revolutionary War.
The Army names George Washington as general and commander-in-chief to fight against enemy forces in large formations using small ambush tactics.
Congress establishes the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY.
The Act is passed in Congress — since then, the U.S. has drafted approximately 4 million Americans.
Army engineers join with civilian scientists to create two atomic bombs.
Traditions of the Day
There are many annual traditions and ceremonies that honor the past and salute the efforts of the U.S. Army. The sacrifices of soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect the country are recognized and re-enacted in schools, and some local theatres.
Cake cutting ceremonies are hosted at both Capitol Hill and the Pentagon, a tradition that has been honored over time. An Army saber is used for cutting the cake by the highest and lowest ranking officials. This is to set in stone the teamwork and brotherhood of the Army. The cake cutting tradition is a fun one, with the cake cutters getting extra enthusiastic — broken tables and flying icing are not uncommon.
It is also tradition to show the world how solid the U.S. Army is. Formation runs take place around the world, with units carrying their colors on parade fields at dawn before beginning work for the day.
By the numbers
1950 – the year when America first celebrated Armed Forces Day.
30 – the number of American presidents who served in the U.S. Army.
2 – the number of presidents who became five-star generals, Dwight Eisenhower and George Washington.
1 – the number of presidents awarded with the Medal of Honor — Theodore Roosevelt.
1,760 – the number of PlayStation 3s used to assemble a supercomputer for the Department of Defense.
30 million – the acres of land owned by The Department of Defense.
800 – the number of military installations overseas by the United States.
4.6 billion – the gallons of fuel used by the U.S. military annually.
95% – the percentage reduction in the ripping noise on soldiers’ uniforms achieved by the U.S. Army by using a silent type of Velcro.
245 – the number of army birthdays celebrated by 2020.
Army Birthday FAQs
What day is the U.S. Army's birthday?
The U.S. Army was founded on 14 June 1775, and its birthday is celebrated every year.
How old is the US Army in 2020?
In 2020, the army had served America and answered the call of duty for 245 years.
How large is the US military?
There are more than one million active US soldiers.
How to Observe Army Birthday
Have a party
The Army Birthday is a celebration! Enjoy food and drinks with family and friends and honor the men and women who have served America.
Learn the story of the Unknown Soldier.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in Arlington, Virginia, is one of the most famous monuments in the U.S. Learn about its history and honor its importance.
Just say “hello”
You might know one or two of the 20.4 million living U.S. veterans. Even if you don't, take the opportunity to seek out a veteran and offer gratitude for their service.
5 Fascinating Army Facts
The Army is older than the country it serves
The Army originally formed to fight the Revolutionary War.
The Army is even bigger than you think
If the Army were a city, it would be the 10th largest in the nation. Just over 1 million soldiers are currently serving in the Army.
More presidents served in the Army than any other military branch
Of the 45 men who have served as president, 31 had military service. Two dozen of them served in the Army, or in state militias (our modern-day National Guard).
The Army owns enough land to be a country
Soldiers serve at 158 installations around the world, covering approximately 24,000 square miles. If it were a state, The Army would be larger than Hawaii and Massachusetts combined.
The Army is America’s second-largest employer
The Army maintains more than 1 million active-duty and reserve soldiers. Only Walmart, with 2.2 million employees, is larger.
Why Army Birthday is Important
It celebrates those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice
Celebrating the Army Birthday honors those Americans in uniform who serve their country in times of war and peace.
It recognizes both past and present members
The Army has had over 57 million service members in its history — including over 1.2 million active service members and over 800,000 reserves.
It recognizes all American veterans
There were around 20.4 million living U.S. veterans in 2016, according to data from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Recognizing the Army Birthday celebrates all of America’s military members.
Army Birthday dates