U.S. Military History: Armed Forces Day

Ross Dunfee

Armed Forces Day is celebrated May 15 this year but with Memorial Day also in May this Armed Forces Day article is printed in April to avoid printing two articles in May. Clip and save.

Each of the Branches of Military Service (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard) has a day to honor their particular branch of service.

Army Day – First celebrated May 1, 1928, its purpose is to draw public attention to national defense, stress the need for military preparedness, and acquaint the public with Army activities.  The Army was founded June 14, 1775, by the Continental Congress and June 3, 1784, by the U.S. Congress.

Navy Day – Navy Day, designed to give recognition to naval service, is celebrated October 27 to coincide with President Theodore Roosevelt’s birthday. The Navy was founded October 13, 1775, by the Continental Congress and March 27, 1794, by the U.S. Congress.

Marine Day – The Marine Corps was established to augment naval forces in the Revolutionary War. Marine Corps Day is now celebrated on November 27 with special exhibits, parades, drill team performances, and speeches. The Marine Corps was founded November 10, 1775, by the Continental Congress and July 11, 1798, by the U.S. Congress.

Air Force Day – The Aeronautical Division in the Office of the Chief Signal Officer of the Army was created August 1, 1907, and the Air Force became a separate military branch on September 18, 1947. Air Force Day was established on August 1, 1947, by President Truman “in recognition of the personnel of the victorious Army Air Forces and all those who have developed and maintained our nation’s air strength.”

Coast Guard Day – Held every August 4 to commemorate the founding of the United States Coast Guard as the Revenue Marine on August 4, 1790, by then-Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Its first responsibility would be enforcement of the first tariff laws enacted by the U.S. Congress. Unlike the other four military branches, the Coast Guard has law enforcement powers. During times of war or conflict, the President of the United States can transfer any or all assets of the Coast Guard to the Department of the Navy. The Coast Guard, or segments of it, have resided in the Departments of Administration, Treasury, Commerce, Transportation, and Homeland Defense. The current Coast Guard was established January 28, 1915.

Armed Forces Day – Created August 31, 1949, and first observed May 20, 1950, to honor Americans currently serving in the five U.S. military branches. 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 branches. Each of the military branches (except for the Coast Guard) was consolidated into the newly created Department of Defense on September 18, 1947. On May 19, 2017, President Donald Trump reaffirmed the Armed Forces Day holiday, marking the 70th anniversary since the creation of the Department of Defense.

The Support Our Troops – Arizona (SOT-AZ) club originates in Eloy, Ariz., at Robson Ranch and is proud of our active-duty patriots in all five branches of military service. It is through their willingness to sacrifice everything that keeps this great nation protected and free. We honor our active military by placing 300 U.S. flags along the principal streets of Robson Ranch the third Saturday of May each year for Armed Forces Day. For questions about this article, contact Ross Dunfee at [email protected] To learn more about SOT-AZ, contact Stephen Reeves, president, at [email protected]