The basic branches of the military have very specific purposes. The Army is the “land warfare branch”, while the Navy handles warfare at sea and the Air Force is in charge of maintaining aerial superiority. There is a lot of overlap, of course, such as the Marines often serving on land but being part of the Navy, but the general roles are well-defined. So, which one is the largest?
The Army is the first branch that was ever created, back when the Continental Army first organized to fight for independence from England, making it the oldest branch in U.S. history. As you may have guessed, it is also the largest. In 2018, there were about 471,990 troops in the Army. Specific divisions within the Army include:
- The Regular Army
- The Army Reserve
- The Army National Guard
Joining the largest branch does expose one to a significant risk of injury. Not only are there the most troops doing the bulk of the fighting, but they are also more exposed to risk in certain conflicts than other branches. For instance, the importance of the Air Force in modern war cannot be overstated, but an air traffic controller does not see the same risks that Army soldiers face when clearing a village or riding on a Humvee through enemy territory. Of course, the risk depends on who the war is against and the type of fighting they’ll engage in, but most fighting still takes place on contested land.
Soldiers who take on this risk may suffer life-changing injuries while serving their country. They need to make sure they understand what legal options they have to seek proper benefits.