How many things do you know about the American military?
No matter how much we see on TV or read in the history books, few people know everything about the American military. For example, how many of our readers know that this year will be 248 years old? Or the fact that the first female soldier was disguised as a man because, at that time, women weren’t allowed to fight?
These and many other interesting facts about the military are the things we’ll dig deeper into in today’s article. So get ready and comfortable for a nice and wholesome history lesson that will be inspirational for both you and your grandkids. Let’s start!
1. George Washington was the one who chose the Army’s dress colors
The first interesting fact about the American military dates to the time when George Washington was the president of the nation. He was the one to give the last “verdict” over the Army’s dress colors in 1779.
Although the military experimented with a lot of other scheme colors along the way, in 2010 they decided to stick to Washington’s choice.
2. Members of the 45th Infantry Division Wore a Swastika Patch Before World War II
Most of the time, we tend to associate the swastika symbol with the Nazis and the horror that happened to Germany during Hitler’s reign. However, the symbol is an ancient American Indian that is supposed to bring good luck to those who wear it.
The Native American soldiers that were a part of the 45th Infantry Division wore the swastika-themed emblem. The emblem was worn by them on their left shoulders. The 45th Division was made up of Oklahoma, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico, four southwestern states. The yellow swastika on a square red background represented the Spanish ancestry of these regions.
In the 1920s, the symbol was adopted by the Nazis, and soon everybody saw it as a symbol of bad things. That’s why the 45th Infantry Division changed it to a thunderbird.
3. The Air Force was part of the military until 1946
The Army Air Corps was once known as the Air Force until 1947. It became a distinct component of the armed forces as a result of the National Security Act of 1947.
4. A part of the army soldiers were immigrants
Without the presence of immigrants, who made up nearly a third of the army and one-tenth of the soldiers throughout the Civil War, the Union would have struggled. Additionally, it’s interesting to note that foreigners made up 50% of the whole force.
5. The U.S. Army is the only military branch that has an official song
The current official song of the U.S. Army wasn’t official until 1956 when it got recognition. The song has its roots in the Philippines in 1908. It was written by Edmond Louis Gruber, who found his inspiration after he overheard a section chief yell orders at a caisson driver. That’s how “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” was born.
The military eventually went back to the original music after making many futile attempts to find an appropriate song; their only request was that the lyrics be changed. Fascinating, no?
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6. George Washington didn’t think he would be a good commander in the military
George Washington was an excellent president and commander, although at first, he was very wary about taking on the latter role. He was terrified; he believed he would never be able to lead an army of soldiers.
It’s fascinating to note that George Washington was a particularly great commander of the men, despite his reluctance.
7. Currently about 500 dogs are serving in the Army
Man’s best friend can’t fail when it comes to the military as well! At this moment, around 500 dogs are serving in the army.
Because they also must be brave and agile soldiers, they have around 16 hours of rigorous training per month. Each dog has one trainer that gets them through everything, starting with detecting narcotics by smell but also finding explosives.
8. The first U.S. Army submarine was used during the Revolutionary War
The first submarine used by the Army was called Turtle, and it was invented by David Bushnell. It had a straightforward wooden construction and could be easily moved by one person using a foot treadle and hand crank.
On September 7, 1776, the Turtle submarine was put into action to destroy the HMS Eagle, a British ship berthed in New York Harbor.
Because the pilot who was in charge of driving it had little to no training about the submarine, he had to abort the mission completely. Although the mission was futile, George Washington still had a lot of respect for the inventor.
9. The first female soldier was disguised as a man
Once upon a time, women were not allowed to fight together with men and defend our country. They weren’t supposed to be strong or brave; they were expected to look out for children and housekeeping. But there was one woman called Deborah Sampson who wanted to serve her country during the Revolutionary War. But would she be able to do that, you may ask? Well, the answer is simple: disguised as a man.
She joined the army under the fake name “Robert Shurtleff” and was under the command of Captain George Webb. Deborah was able to keep her identity secret because, after every battle, she took care of the wounds by herself. For almost a year, she kept everything secret until one day, when she fainted and went to the hospital.
Deborah Sampson is the first woman in the U.S. to receive a military pension.
10. The American military owns around 24,000 miles of land
Not every single citizen is aware of the fact that more than 1 million soldiers are serving in the U.S. military at this moment. Those left are made up of the National Guard and Army Reserve’s reserve units, while roughly half of that total are active-duty soldiers who work full-time.
And now think about it this way: a city with just U.S. Army servicemen would have a larger population than San Jose, California, or Austin, Texas. The Army would possess the 42nd-largest state in the country if it were to acquire one state. Wow! That’s amazing!
11. 24 presidents served during wartime
Of a total of 46 presidents, 31 of them have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. 16 of them specifically served in the Army, among them Theodore Roosevelt.
24 of those 31 served during the war. Among them are Ulysses S. Grant, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, and George H.W. Bush.
We hope you enjoyed our quick history lesson, and if you’re up for more, check out one of our personal favorites: 11 Things No US President Can Ever Do (but You Can). And in case you’re new around here, don’t forget to hit that subscribe button to get free daily news straight to your inbox.