Deciding to join the military is a big decision on its own. But it is not where the decisions end. You also must pick a military branch. There are six US Military branches of the military that you can serve in – Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Corps, and Space Force. Each military branch has its own culture and mission. And making sure to pick the one that fits you best is an important step when joining the military.
There is no one right answer.
The best military branch for you needs to meet your goals and aspirations. It should not just be focused on the “perks” of one branch over another. Depending on why you are joining and what you are looking for will help you determine what military branch you should pick. This podcast episode covers the culture and mission of each branch of the military. It will help you determine which military branches are right for you.
Listen to the full episode here.
US Military Branches
The US Air Force was established on September 18, 1947. But its roots began in the Army in 1907 with the creation of an Aeronautical Division. Testing their first airplane in 1908. The early testing led to the US being ready for WWI with the 1st Aero Squadron. World War I and II show-off the power of air superiority. And, after the war was over. It was decided to create a separate force. The Air Force’s mission is to fly, fight and win in air, space, and cyberspace.
The US Army was formed on June 14, 1775. The Second Continental Congress formed the Continental Army as a means for the 13 unified colonies to fight the forces of Great Britain. George Washington was unanimously elected as Commander in Chief of the new Army. He would lead the colonies to victory and independence.
The Army’s mission is to deploy, fight and win our nation’s wars. They do this by providing ready, prompt, and sustained land dominance.
The US Coast Guard was founded on August 4, 1790. It was created when the first Congress authorized the construction of ten vessels to enforce federal tariff and trade laws and to prevent smuggling. It has been called the Revenue Marine and the Revenue Cutter Service and has grown in size and responsibility as the nation has grown. The Coast Guard was given its current name in 1915. Since 2003, the Coast Guard has operated as part of the Department of Homeland Security, serving as the nation’s front-line agency for enforcing the nation’s laws at seas, protecting the marine environment, and the nation’s vast coastline and ports, and saving lives. In times of war, or at the direction of the President, the Coast Guard serves under the Department of the Navy.
The Marine Corps was founded on November 10, 1775. It was created when the Continental Congress ordered that two battalions of Marines be raised for a specific force to work directly with the Navy to perform offensive assaults from both land and water. Marines have fought in all wars of the United States. While the Marine Corps is its own military branch, it falls under the Department of the Navy.
The US Navy was founded on October 13, 1775. In 1775, the Continental Congress decides to arm two sailing vessels with ten carriage guns, as well as swivel guns, and manned by crews of eighty men. With the mission to intercept transports carrying munitions and stores to the British Army in America. The foundation of the Navy is a pivotal step in the Revolutionary War. The Navy first began to fight for rights under the British Empire as some members of Congress resisted the bid for Independence. Creating their own fleet would change the landscape of the war.
The Space Force was established on December 20, 2019. The US Military’s newest branch is still in the process of being formed. The Space Force falls under the administration of the Department of the Air Force. Its history comes from when in 1982 the US Air Force created Air Force Space Command. Cold-War era space operations focused on missile warning, launch operations, and satellite control, space surveillance, and command and control. In 2005, Air Force Space Command gained the responsibility of cyberspace, but this responsibility was transferred to Air Force Air Combat Command in 2018. This allowed Space Command to focus on maintaining space superiority and outpacing our adversaries in the space domain. There are still a lot of unknowns as this new branch forms.
Resources provided by veterans (contains affiliate links)
- Read The Mask of War by Carl Builder
- Read Women of the Miltary to hear more stories of military women
- Listen to Women Veteran Podcast
Answer these questions
- What is your objective of service?
- Are there location / geographic considerations?
- Service, tradition, adventure, training, college assistance, etc?
- What are you interested in and capable (qualified) of doing?
- Does the service offer the career choice you want to do?
- Are you looking at a career in the military or a shorter option?
- Are you looking to enlist or take a path to be an officer?
7 Things I Wish I Would Have Known Before Joining the Military
Going through MEPS – Episode 34
Joining the Army While Still In High School – Episode 43
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