Currently, there are more than 1.3 million active-duty service members across the United States, which make the U.S. The Armed Forces is regarded as one of the most elite and largest in the world. The U.S military has 6 separate service branches: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and Space Force. In this blog, we will provide you with a brief overview of all the U.S. military branches. Let’s get started! 

In each branch, service members are categorized into 3 general groups: active duty (full-time soldiers and sailors), reserve & guard forces (usually work a civilian job but can be called to full-time military duty), and veterans and retirees (past members of the military). Furthermore, one great mission of all 6 branches is to protect and defend the country’s interests and inhabitants from any threats.


1. What are the U.S. military branches?


Let’s us walk you through the six service branches of the U.S. armed forces:


1.1. U.S. Air Force (USAF)  

the us military branches air force
Emblem of the United States Air Force

The Air Force, a part of the Department of Defense (DOD), is responsible for aerial military operations at home and abroad, defending U.S. air bases, and building landing strips. Its service members are airmen. The reserve components of the United States Air Force are Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. 

Take note: If you are interested in becoming a guardsman, let’s take time to read the informative article regarding the Benefits of joining the United States National Guard as well as all Requirements For The National Guard Enlistment.

In the early 20th century, originally, the USAF was created as a unit of the Army and was known as the Aeronautical Division. Until  The Air Force aerially protects United States’ interests at home and abroad. Originally in the early 20th century, the Air Force was created as a unit of the Army, known as the Aeronautical Division. 

Until after the global conflict of World War II, the separation of the Air Force into its own branch of the military was implemented to push the reformation of both technology and organization.

At present, over 332,000 full-time active duty members, who work as pilots, engineers, medical professionals, lawyers and computer scientists,  are serving in the Air Force. 


1.2. U.S. Army (USA) 


us military service branches army
Military service mark of the United States Army

The Army, known as the largest of the military branches, is also a part of the DOD (Department of Defense). It was founded on June 14, 1775, which makes it the oldest branch of the military. The main responsibilities of the U.S. The Army is handling significant ground combat missions, especially operations that are ongoing. The Army’s reserve components include the Army Reserve and Army National Guard. Besides, the Army’s members are known as soldiers.

During the Revolutionary War, the brave Army soldiers played an essential role in gaining the U.S. independence. Up to now, Army members, who serve primarily by land and air, have been defending and protecting the nation from threats. 

One of the interesting facts about the U.S Army is that the Army Special Forces are called Green Berets. What’s more, occasionally, the Army soldiers so-called Army mariners have a marine presence. Additionally, there are also several elite groups which receive specialized training – like the Rangers and the Night Stalkers – so they are equipped to handle unique combat situations.


1.3. U.S. Coast Guard (USCG)  

coast guard us military all branches
Seal of the United States Coast Guard

Unlike the other U.S. service branches, the Coast Guard, a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in peace time and serving under the Department of the Navy in war time , provides national security as well as search and rescue for America’s waterways, seas, ports and coast.  Besides, this branch is responsible for stopping drug smugglers and others breaking maritime law and enforcing the marine environmental protection laws. Furthermore, the Coast Guard is not only a military branch, but also a federal law enforcement agency.

Service members are Coast Guardsmen, nicknamed Coasties. Meanwhile the Coast Guard Reserve is the reserve component of the Coast Guard. 

It should be noted that although the Navy and Coast Guard are both maritime branches, their missions are different from each other. More specifically, the Navy keeps a power war-ready fleet, whereas, the Coast Guard keeps our waterways safe by implementing search and rescue, protecting the aquatic environment and stopping the smuggling of illicit drugs into the domestic. 


1.4. U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) 

us military all branches marine corps
Emblem of the United States Marine Corps

The United States Marine Corps (USMC), a unit of the DOD, provides land combat, sea-based, and air-ground operations support for the other branches. Furthermore, this branch is also responsible for protecting  Naval bases, Navy ships, U.S. embassies around the world as well as the confidential documents in those buildings. “Raiders” are known as the Marine Corps Special Operations Command (MARSOC) members. Furthermore, all service members are called Marines and the Marine Corps Reserve is the reserve component of the U.S. Marine Corps. About the Evolution of the U.S. The Marine Corps was founded in 1775. However, until 1834, it was actually an independent service. 


1.5. U.S. Navy (USN)  

branches of military in us navy
Emblem of the United States Navy

Their very specialized preparation consists of initial training (which takes more than a year to complete) followed by about 18 months of pre-deployment training, ensuring SEALs are ready for just about any circumstances.

The Navy is an official unit of the DOD, which protects waterways including sea and ocean outside of the Coast Guard’s jurisdiction. 

Although the U.S. mainly serves the country by sea, they also serve on land and in the air. Furthermore, A very famous elite group within the Navy is the Sea, Air and Land Forces – better known as the SEALs, who overcome some of the most physically demanding military training – consisting of initial training ( more than a year to complete) and 18 months of pre-deployment training, so as to the most challenging of missions and be ready for just about any circumstances. Meanwhile all Navy service members are known as Sailors and Navy Reserve. All Navy service members might choose to focus on one of more than 60 career specialties such as engineering, aviation and medicine.


1.6. U.S. Space Force (USSF) 

us military branches logos space fprce
Seal of the United States Space Force

The Space Force is the newest branch of the Department of the Air Force, which was created on 20 December, 2019 and whose predecessor was the former Air Force Space Command. It protects the nation and allied interests in space and provides space capabilities to the joint force. More specifically, the Space Force’s duties are developing military space capabilities, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power and organizing space forces. 


2. Who Is in Charge of the U.S. Military Branches?


The commander in chief, who is responsible for all important and final decisions, is the United States president. Meanwhile the secretary of the DOD (Department of Defense) has overseen the military and each branch – except the Coast Guard, which is controlled over the Department of Homeland Security.

To sum up, a comprehensive overview of the U.S. military branches is raised in this article. Hopefully, you might have more information regarding each branch. Additionally, you can read on the Reasons To Join The Military in the United State and Military Requirements. If you are planning on sitting for the ASVAB Test, don’t hesitate to visit our ASVAB Practice Test