The United States Army is the largest and oldest established branch of the armed forces of the United States and is one of seven uniformed services. Like all armies, it has the primary responsibility for land-based military operations.
The modern Army had its roots in the Continental Army which was formed on June 14, 1775, before the establishment of the United States, to meet the demands of the American Revolutionary War.
Control and operation of the Army is administered by the Department of the Army, one of the three service departments of the Department of Defense. The civilian head is the Secretary of the Army and the highest ranking military officer in the department is the Chief of Staff, unless the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are Army officers. As of August 31, 2007, the Regular Army reported a strength of 519,472 soldiers. By the end of 2006, the Army National Guard (ARNG) reported 346,288 and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) reported 189,975, putting the approximate combined component strength total at 1,055,734.
Training in the United States Army is generally divided into two categories - individual and collective.
Individual training for enlisted soldiers usually consists of 14 weeks for those who hope to hold the MOS, 11B (Infantryman). Other combat MOSs consist of similar training length. Support and other MOS hopefuls attend nine weeks of Basic Combat Training followed by Advanced Individual Training in their primary Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) at any of the numerous MOS training facilities around the country. The length of time spent in AIT depends on the MOS of the soldier. Depending on the needs of the Army BCT is conducted at a number of locations, but two of the longest running are the Armor School at Fort Knox, Kentucky and the Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia. For officers this training includes pre-commissioning training either at USMA, ROTC, or OCS. After commissioning, officers undergo six weeks of training at the Basic Officer Leaders Course, Phase II at Ft. Benning or Ft. Sill, followed by their branch specific training at the Basic Officer Leaders Course, Phase III (formerly called Officer Basic Course) which varies in time and location based on their future jobs.
Collective training takes place both at the unit's assigned station, but the most intensive collective training takes place at the three Combat Training Centers (CTC); the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California, the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the Combined Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) at the Hohenfels Training Area in Hohenfels, Germany.
The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the United States armed forces responsible for providing force projection from the sea, using the mobility of the U.S. Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces and is one of seven uniformed services. Administratively within the Department of the Navy, operationally the U.S. Marine Corps acts as a separate branch of the military, often working closely with US Naval forces for training, transportation, and logistic purposes.
Originally organized as the Continental Marines on November 10, 1775 as naval infantry, the Marine Corps has evolved in its mission with changing military doctrine and American foreign policy. It attained prominence in the 20th century when its theories and practice of amphibious warfare proved prescient and ultimately formed the cornerstone of the Pacific campaign of World War II. By the mid 20th century, the Marine Corps had become the dominant theorist of amphibious warfare. Its ability to respond rapidly to regional crises has made it, and continues to make it, an important body in the implementation and execution of American foreign policy.
The United States Marine Corps, with 186,342 active duty and 40,000 reserve Marines as of November 30, 2007, is the smallest of the United States' armed forces in the Department of Defense (the United States Coast Guard is smaller, about one fifth the size of the Marine Corps, but serves under Homeland Security.) The Corps is nonetheless larger than the entire armed forces of many significant military powers; for example, it is larger than the active duty Israel Defense Forces.
Enlisted Marines attend recruit training, known as boot camp, at either Marine Corps Recruit Depot (MCRD) San Diego or Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, just outside Beaufort, South Carolina. Women only attend the Parris Island depot, in the Fourth Recruit Training Battalion, while males who train at Parris Island comprise the First through Third Battalions. Historically, the Mississippi River served as the dividing line which delineated who would be trained where. More recently the recruiting district system has been implemented, resulting in a more even distribution of male recruits between the two MCRD facilities. All recruits must pass an Initial Strength Test to start training. Recruits who fail to do so are placed in a Physical Conditioning Platoon, where they receive individualized attention and training until the minimum standards are reached.
Marine recruit training is the longest among the American military services; it is 13 weeks long, compared to the U.S. Army's 10 weeks.
Following recruit training, enlisted US Marines then attend School of Infantry training at Camp Geiger or Camp Pendleton, generally based upon where the Marine received their recruit training. Infantry Marines begin their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) training, which varies in length, immediately with the Infantry Training Battalion (ITB). Marines in all other MOSs train for 29 days in Marine Combat Training (MCT), learning common infantry skills, before continuing on to their MOS schools which vary in length.