Flag DayJillian Decker
Celebrate the U.S. Army’s Birthday
By Keri A. Giannotti, Museum Educator
Two military holidays are celebrated on June 14th; the United States Army’s Birthday and Flag Day.
June 14th for members of the Army is designated as a day to celebrate the birth of our Army. It is on June 14, 1775 that the Congress of the United States established the First Continental Army to train soldiers to battle the British in the upcoming American Revolution. Prior to the official creation of a National Army, most of the fighting was done by colonial militia. These militias were “colonial” entities which are made up of farmers who served part time or as an on needed basis. Forseeing the coming of the war with Britain, there was the need for a “professional” and ‘nationalized’ army.
The initial Regular Army Infantry was called the 3rd Infantry regiment. George Washington was unanimously elected Commander-in-Chief of the Army as he led the troops to victory and independence. The title Commander-In-Chief would follow him as he shaped the Presidency. According to the US Constitution, “The President shall be Commander in CHief of the Army and Navy of the United States and of the Militia of the several states, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”
Today’s Army is made up of 700,000 soldiers including active duty, and Army Reserve personnel. It includes both men and women of the United States. Women were first enlisted during World War I. However, that doesn’t mean they didn’t help early on. Monmouth County’s own Mary Ludwig Hays, also known as Molly pitcher according to legend replaced her husband as his cannon when he no longer could during the Battle of Monmouth.
During the Vietnam War, the First Female Generals in the United States Army Forces were promoted, WAC Brigadier Generals Elizabeth P. Hoisington and Anna Mae Hayes. Hayes served in the Army Nurse Corps in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. Prior to Vietnam, she led the Emergency Room at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. During Vietnam, Hayes as the Chief of the Army Nurse Corps. According to a Time Magazine article in “She upped recruitment efforts to send more nurse to the Vietnam War, and she visited the country several times during the conflict to assess the state of nursing”.
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation celebrates all the branches of our Armed Forces today and everyday. We also look forward to sharing the stories that often don’t get told. If you have a Vietnam Related to story to any of those on our Memorial we invite you to share it with us under the comments on Wall of Faces page.