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Military service mark of the United States Army

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution, Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1] and United States Code, Title 10, Subtitle B, Chapter 301, Section 3001]. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed (14 June 1775) to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

As a uniformed military service, the U.S. Army is part of the Department of the Army, which is one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The U.S. Army is headed by a civilian senior appointed civil servant, the Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) and by a chief military officer, the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) who is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is the largest military branch, and in the fiscal year 2017, the projected end strength for the Regular Army (USA) was 476,000 soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) had 343,000 soldiers and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) had 199,000 soldiers; the combined-component strength of the U.S. Army was 1,018,000 soldiers. As a branch of the armed forces, the mission of the U.S. Army is “to fight and win our Nation’s wars, by providing prompt, sustained, land dominance, across the full range of military operations and the spectrum of conflict, in support of combatant commanders“. The branch participates in conflicts worldwide and is the major ground-based offensive and defensive force of the United States.

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Beginning in 2004, accounts of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, including torture, rape, of prisoners held in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq (also known as Baghdad Correctional Facility) came to public attention. These acts were committed by military police personnel of the United States Army together with additional US governmental agencies.

Lynndie England holding a leash attached to a prisoner, known to the guards as “Gus”, who is lying on the floor.

Revealed in the Taguba Report, an initial criminal investigation by the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command had already been underway, where soldiers of the 320th Military Police Battalion had been charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with prisoner abuse. In 2004, articles describing the abuse, including pictures showing military personnel appearing to abuse prisoners, came to public attention, when a 60 Minutes II news report (April 28) and an article by Seymour M. Hersh in The New Yorker magazine (posted online on April 30 and published days later in the May 10 issue) reported the story.

The United States Department of Defense removed seventeen soldiers and officers from duty, and eleven soldiers were charged with dereliction of duty, maltreatment, aggravated assault and battery. Between May 2004 and March 2006, eleven soldiers were convicted in courts-martial, sentenced to military prison, and dishonorably discharged from service. Two soldiers, Specialist Charles Graner, and his former fiancée, Specialist Lynndie England, were sentenced to ten years and three years in prison, respectively, in trials ending on January 14, 2005 and September 26, 2005. The commanding officer of all Iraq detention facilities, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, was reprimanded for dereliction of duty and then demoted to the rank of Colonel on May 5, 2005. Col. Karpinski has denied knowledge of the abuses, claiming that the interrogations were authorized by her superiors and performed by subcontractors, and that she was not even allowed entry into the interrogation rooms.

The abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib was in part the reason that on April 12, 2006, the United States Army activated the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion, the first of four joint interrogation battalions.

Selected image

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A shell casing flies out with a trail of smoke as U.S. Army PFC Michael Freise fires an M4 carbine rifle during a firing exercise.

Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Suzanne M. Day, defenselink.mil

Selected biography

General John Joseph Pershing head on shoulders.jpg

John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing (September 13, 1860 – July 15, 1948) was an officer in the United States Army. Pershing eventually rose to the highest rank ever held in the United States ArmyGeneral of the Armies—equivalent only to the posthumous rank of George Washington. Pershing led the American Expeditionary Force in World War I and was regarded as a mentor by the generation of American generals who led the United States army forces in Europe during World War II, including George C. Marshall, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Omar Bradley and George S. Patton.

Quotes

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“They’ve got us surrounded again, the poor bastards.” — Creighton Abrams

U.S. Army News

The Black Beret and ACU uniform

Replacement of Black Beret by Patrol Cap one of several changes made by uniform board

After polling Army personnel for input, the Army’s uniform board has instituted several changes to the Army’s attire. First and foremost, the Black Beret will be relegated to the Army’s service dress uniform. Velcro is also being made optional for some closures. Soldiers will be provided the chance to sew patches to their uniform.

The beret has been the standard headgear for the Army’s ACU combat uniform since June 2001. The beret is worn on base and for ceremonies while the patrol cap is worn in the field. Soldiers disliked the beret for its nonexistent practical purpose and the redundancy of having to carry both a beret and hat at all times. “The [ACU] signifies a uniform that should be worn in combat or training for combat, yet a beret doesn’t even make the cut on the deployment packing list,” said one NCO. The Army will now issue only one beret to each soldier for a cost savings of $6.5 million over the lifecycle of the ACU.

Soldiers will still wear their berets with their Army Service Uniform. Soldiers are pleased overall with the appearance of the beret on the ASU. The change does not effect Special Forces soldiers such as the Army Special Forces who wear distinctive Green Berets.

Velcro replaced buttons on the digital ACU replacement for the BDU. Velcro was received as being too noisy, messy, and unprofessional looking by early users after the new ACU uniform was adopted by the Army. Soldiers voiced their opposition to velcro to the Army’s Uniform board earlier this year prior to the decision.


Sources: AT:Beret going away?, AT:Army dumps Beret, ANS:Velcro optional, Patrol Cap default

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Equipment

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The M998 High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV or Humvee) is a military motor vehicle. It has largely supplanted the role formerly served by the Jeep, Gama Goat, and other light trucks with the United States military, and is also used by a number of other countries and organizations.

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