June 1775 brought the birth of the U.S. Army. On June 10, 1775, in the aftermath of Lexington and Concord, John Adams urged the Continental Congress to form a Continental Army to take charge of colonial militia facing the British at Boston. On June 14, 1775 (considered the U.S. Army’s official birthday), Congress passed a resolution “that six companies of expert riflemen be immediately raised in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia,” and that they “shall march and join the army near Boston.” The next day, June 15, Congress made George Washington commander in chief of the new force. The Army is the oldest of the five major branches of the U.S. Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard).
The U.S. Army flag, adopted in 1956, is a white flag bearing a blue design that dates to the Revolutionary War. A Roman breastplate (symbol of strength and defense) stands at the center. A sword rises out of the neck opening, and on its point rests a Phrygian cap (symbol of liberty). A drum, musket, bayonet, cannon, cannonballs, flags, and other army implements surround the breastplate. Above, a rattlesnake holds a scroll with the motto This We’ll Defend. Below, a red scroll reads “United States Army.” And at the bottom, the date 1775 signifies the year the Army was created.