May - Military Appreciation Month
May 9, 2019
Since the birth of this great country America’s men and women have sacrificed life and limb for her freedom. No matter when or where millions have answered the call and defended the freedoms that we enjoy on a daily basis. The month of May is set aside to honor those brave men and women who believed in something bigger than themselves. Men and women who understood that freedom is never free, and that sometimes the greatest liberties come from the greatest sacrifice.
On October 13, 1775, the Continental Navy was established. Fighting for the establishment of American these brave men fought the Revolutionary war protecting our shores from the invading British soldiers. At the conclusion of the war, the Continental Navy was disbanded by George Washington thinking it was no longer needed. The Naval Act of 1794 established a permanent US Navy that was noted for using Ironsides during the Civil War.
By 1878 the Navy had dwindled to a mere 6,000 men. The Navy would continue to decline in morale and equipment until 1898 when the rise of what would be known as today’s Navy would begin. By 1901 President Teddy Roosevelt would bring the Navy to one of the largest in the world second only to the Royal Navy.
December 7, 1941, would see one of the darkest days for the US Navy in American history. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor would take out a major portion of the countries ships almost crippling the Navy before it entered the Second World War. By the end of WWII the Navy entered Tokyo Bay with a large flotilla where the surrender of the Japanese was conducted on the USS Missouri.
Today America’s Navy is the worlds undisputed naval superpower, second to none.
The Revolutionary War would see the necessity of a primary land force that would be tasked with land battles and military occupation, and 1775 would see
the birth of the Continental Army. Prior to that time the colonies relied solely on part time soldiers called militia, but although farmers and merchants were just as passionate about saving their lands and businesses, professional soldiers would be needed to protect this new country.
The new Americans were not ready to trust a full standing army, and the Continental Army was disbanded after the war. Only two regiments remained at the end of the war, one to protect and guard the Western Frontier and one to guard the arsenal at West Point. Americans returned to the use of the militia.
By the War of 1812 the US Army was defending America against the British, the Native Americans, and later volunteering in the Mexican-American war. After the Civil War in which American armies were fighting with each other, the Army spent most of its time fighting Native Americans that were against expansion.
The US War Department finally formed the National Army to fight in WWI, and formed the Army of the United States during WWII. Today the United States Army boasts some of the most highly trained individuals to grace the American Forces.
Two battalions of Continental Marines were formed on November 10, 1775, as part of the infantry. These men would be able to fight both on land and at sea and the Marines were born. Originally the Marines were founded to be an infantry unit that would exist aboard naval ships. They were tasked with the safety of the ship, its contents, and its crew.
Marines were stationed between the officer’s quarters and the enlisted men and they were to protect the ship and its officers in the event of a boarding by hostiles or a mutiny aboard ship. The most notable battle for the Marines was in 1801 during the First Barbary War. Under the leadership of First Lieutenant Presley O’Bannon, eight Marines and 500 mercenaries attempted to take Tripoli. Although they were not successful, the battle itself became the basis of the Marines’ Hymn.
The Marines have a very close knit unit and firmly believe, “Once a Marine always a Marine.” Most Marines do not recognize the term ex-Marine or former Marine, and it is seen as the highest form of respect to be a retired Marine or a “Lifer.”
Born September 18, 1947, the US Air Force is the youngest of the services. Prior to that the defense of the sky was tasked to the Navy and Marines. Although not an official Air Force yet, the Air Service of the AEF under the command of Major General Mason Patrick was assigned to support the US Army during WWI.
WWII would see the massive growth of the Air Force and by 1941 they had, for all intents and purposes, separated from the Army. By 1942 the Air Force had an equal representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and in all but name only, were their own branch of the American military.
By 1946, against the wishes of the US Navy, the Air Force was created. The first Secretary of the Air Force took office by 1947, and in 1948 the Key West Agreement, which outlined the policies of all four branches of the military, was adopted.
Todays Air Force is the largest in the world. It boasts being the most technologically advanced and although a relative new comer to the American military forces, holds its own on a daily basis.
Current and former military members have much to be proud of today. We have a long and proud history no matter what branch you’re part of. So from this Navy Veteran to all of you, I wish you fair winds and following seas shipmates!