Today we celebrate and honor all men and women on active duty in our Armed Forces. We also thank their families and love ones who support them.
President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days.
The single day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.
In the United States, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May. It falls near the end of Armed Forces Week, which begins on the second Saturday of May and ends on the third Sunday of May.
First observed on 20 May 1950, the day was created on 31 August 1949, to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches – the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air Force and U.S. Coast Guard – following the consolidation of the military services in the U.S. Department of Defense. It was intended to replace the separate Army-, Navy-, Air Force-, Marine Corps- and Coast Guard Days, but the separate days are still observed, especially within the respective services.
The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows. The United States' longest continuously running Armed Forces Day Parade is held in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In 2016, Chattanooga celebrated the 67th year of the Armed Forces Day Parade.
Because of their unique training schedules, National Guard and Reserve units may celebrate Armed Forces Day/Week over any period in the month of May.
Interesting U.S. Military Facts:
1. Thirty American presidents served in the U.S. Army, 24 during time of war. Of the 30, two became 5-star generals – George Washington and Dwight Eisenhower. Teddy Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor. -- military.com
2. 1,760 PlayStation 3s were used to build a supercomputer for the Department of Defense. -- escapistmagazine.com
3. There are 1.8 million people on active duty, according to the Department of Defense. -- DOD
4. The Department of Defense owns 29,819,492 acres of land worldwide. -- DOD
5. The United States has 737 military installations overseas. -- DOD
6. According to Military.com, the Navy’s bell-bottom trousers are believed to have been introduced in 1817 to permit men to roll them above the knee when washing down the decks. In addition, the trousers can be used as a life preserver if you knot the legs.
7. The Marine Corps motto is "Semper Fidelis,” Latin for “Always Faithful.”
8. The last time the United States "declared war" was in 1942. -- Wikipedia
9. The U.S. Department of Defense is the world's largest employer. -- DOD
10. The Department of Defense uses 4,600,000,000 US gallons of fuel annually -- DOD
11. Stores on U.S. military bases outside of America will not accept pennies as currency. It’s too expensive to ship them there and back. -- Los Angeles Times
12. The U.S. military uses a nearly silent type of Velcro which reduces the ripping noise by over 95 percent. -- Reddit
13. A service member in a designated combat zone or hazardous duty area, generally does not have to pay federal income tax on the military pay and reimbursements during his or her service there. -- Internal Revenue
14. In 1949, a U.S. Army Private First Class – known to the payroll department as an “E-3” -- took home a monthly check of $99.55 in “basic pay.” That $99.55 came after he had been in the service for 2 years and had no dependents.