For the first Saturday Salute, I figured I would write a broad post about the U.S. Military to introduce the Saturday topic.
The United States military includes the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard. This includes the Reserves and National Guard forces as well. Led by the U.S. Department of Defense, and the President of the United States, the military works together under Unified Combatants Commands to carry out orders from the President and the Secretary of Defense.
Currently, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta are the highest ranking members of the U.S. military chain of command. They are advised by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the heads of each Department of Defense service branches. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs currently is General Martin Dempsey, a 37 year veteran of the U.S. Army. He is currently the highest ranking officer of the U.S. Military.
At the end of the Second Continental Congress, the Continental Army, Continental Navy, and Continental Marines were formed in 1775 (before the Declaration of Independence!) to defend against the British. The official United States Army was created in 1784, even though they still count 1775 as their "birth" year. The U.S. Coast Guard started out as the Revenue Cutter Service in 1790 and merged with the U.S. Life-Saving Service in 1915. The U.S. Air force started in 1947, over 40 years after the Wright Brothers's flight.
As the 2nd largest military in the world, the U.S. military boasts over 2 million members between active and reserve duties stationed around the world and throughout the United States and its territories. They are second only to the People's Liberation Army of China. The difference is that our 2 million members are wholly volunteers serving our country, where PLA's 3 million is made up of men and women serving mandatory service for the Chinese.
With Christmas coming up, please keep our service members in your thoughts and prayers. They are putting their lives on hold, leaving loved ones and comfort behind, to protect us. While you are able to hug your spouse, tuck your child into bed at night, and watch a CSI marathon tonight, many of our soldiers are in the field around the world sleeping in dirt and making a holiday meal of a MRE and lukewarm water. Check some of the sites below for ways to support the troops and their families during the holiday season. Remember, you don't have to support the activities of the government to support the troops.
Support Our Troops- This website details service missions to the troops from all around and includes many ways to donate time, supplies, and money to support the troops. Check their military news section.
Trees For Troops- Christmas SPIRIT Foundation donates fresh cut Christmas trees to bases in the U.S. and around the world. Since 2005, they have donated 84,000 trees and you can help them reach their goal of 100,000 trees to date.
Operation Shoebox- Started in 2003, Operation Shoebox works to raise the moral of deployed troops in war zones and bases abroad. Over 1300 official volunteers in three hubs work with U.S. citizens nationwide to send care packages, letters, and bulk items to our troops to keep their spirits up and let them know that we appreciate their service and can't wait for them to come home.
Love is love, no matter the back story. <3 DS