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The U.S. Army was founded on 14 June 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized enlistment of expert riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year. For more on the history of the U.S. Army birthday, click here: the Army birthday

Branch Birthdays

Since 1775, Congress has also authorized the establishment of certain branches within the Army. Today, these are represented by the Army's basic and special branches. Below is information about the legal authority for the Army's branches and additional information about each branch's birthday.

Basic Branch

Birthday

Infantry 14 June 1775
Adjutant General's Corps 16 June 1775
Corps of Engineers 16 June 1775
Finance Corps 16 June 1775
Quartermaster Corps 16 June 1775
Air Defense Artillery 17 November 1775
Field Artillery 17 November 1775
Armor 12 December 1776
Ordnance Corps 14 May 1812
Signal Corps 21 June 1860
Chemical Corps 28 June 1918
Military Police Corps 26 September 1941
Transportation Corps 31 July 1942
Civil Affairs 17 August 1955
Military Intelligence 1 July 1962
Aviation 12 April 1983
Special Forces 9 April 1987
Psychological Operations 16 October 2006
Logistics 1 January 2008
Cyber 1 September 2014

Special Branch

Birthday

Army Medical Department
    Medical Corps
    Army Nurse Corps
    Dental Corps
    Veterinary Corps
    Medical Service Corps
    Army Medical Specialist Corps
27 July 1775
    27 July 1775
    2 February 1901    
    3 March 1911
    3 June 1916
    18 May 1917
    16 April 1947
Chaplains 29 July 1775
Judge Advocate General's Corps 29 July 1775

Army Birthdays

The U.S. Army was founded on 14 June 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized enlistment of expert riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year. For more on the history of the U.S. Army birthday, click here: the Army birthday.

Since 1775 Congress has also prescribed the organization and structure of the Army.  This includes various branches into which Soldiers can be assigned.  In many cases these branch distinctions are reflected in the Army's system for designating units and in the U.S. Army Regimental System.  The Army Organization Act of 1950 (enacted 28 June 1950) set forth the legal basis for the various basic and special branches in the current Army (see Title 10, United States Code, Sections 3063 and 3064).  It also permits the creation of other branches as the Secretary of the Army considers necessary.  See the note below for more information on The Army Organization Act of 1950.

In recognition that many of today's branches have existed since 1775 and in order to enhance esprit de corps, the Army recognizes official branch birthdays (see Department of the Army General Orders, No. 19, dated 31 October 1978 and subsequent announcements).  Listed below are the Army's basic and special branches currently in existence, their birthdays, and the relevant authorities.  Links are also provided for additional information about each branch's unique heraldic items, which are maintained by The Institute of Heraldry (TIOH).

NOTE: The Army Organization Act of 1950 was enacted on 28 June 1950.  A full copy of the Act was published in Department of the Army Bulletin No. 9, dated 6 July 1950.  The changes the Act had on the Army's branches and the titles of the various branch chiefs were announced in Department of the Army General Orders No. 23, dated 20 July 1950 (as amended).  Finally, an article from the August 1950 edition of Army Information Digest discusses the Act's major changes.  All three of these documents are available below for the convenience of our users.

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Basic Branches

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Infantry

14 June 1775

Ten companies of expert riflemen were authorized by a resolution of the Continental Congress on 14 June 1775. However, the oldest Regular Army infantry regiment, the 3d Infantry Regiment, was constituted on 3 June 1784, as the First American Regiment.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Adjutant General's Corps

16 June 1775

The post of Adjutant General was established 16 June 1775, and has been continuously in operation since that time. The Adjutant General's Department, was established by the act of 3 March 1813. It became The Adjutant General's Corps per The Army Organization Act of 1950.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Corps of Engineers

16 June 1775

Continental Congress authority for a "Chief Engineer for the Army" dates from 16 June 1775. A Corps of Engineers for the United States was authorized by the Congress on 11 March 1779. The Corps of Engineers as it is known today came into being on 16 March 1802, when the President was authorized to "organize and establish a Corps of Engineers ... that the said Corps ... shall be stationed at West Point in the State of New York and shall constitute a Military Academy." A Corps of Topographical Engineers, authorized on 4 July 1838, was merged with the Corps of Engineers in March 1863.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Finance Corps

16 June 1775

The Finance Corps is the successor to the old Pay Department, which was created on 16 June 1775. The Finance Department was created by law on 1 July 1920. It became the Finance Corps with the passage of The Army Organization Act of 1950.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Quartermaster Corps

16 June 1775

The Quartermaster Corps, originally designated the Quartermaster Department, was established on 16 June 1775. While numerous additions, deletions, and changes of function have occurred, its basic supply and service support functions have continued in existence.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Air Defense Artillery

17 November 1775

The Continental Congress unanimously elected Henry Knox "Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery" on 17 November 1775. The regiment formally entered service on 1 January 1776. Both Air Defense Artillery (previously Coast Artillery) and Field Artillery share this common heritage. At various times, all arms of artillery have been referred to as Artillery. This is still reflected in Title 10, United States Code, Section 3063(a)(3). On 14 June 1968 the Army established Air Defense Artillery as a separate branch and on 12 June 1969 directed that the Title 10 reference to "Artillery" will instead refer to "Field Artillery" pending formal change to the code. To date, this has not yet occurred. However, the Army made clear in 1969 that "for the purposes of lineage and history, Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery shall both be considered a continuation of Artillery."

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Field Artillery

17 November 1775

The Continental Congress unanimously elected Henry Knox "Colonel of the Regiment of Artillery" on 17 November 1775. The regiment formally entered service on 1 January 1776. Both Air Defense Artillery (previously Coast Artillery) and Field Artillery share this common heritage. At various times, all arms of artillery have been referred to as Artillery. This is still reflected in Title 10, United States Code, Section 3063(a)(3). On 14 June 1968 the Army established Air Defense Artillery as a separate branch and on 12 June 1969 directed that the Title 10 reference to "Artillery" will instead refer to "Field Artillery" pending formal change to the code. To date, this has not yet occurred. However, the Army made clear in 1969 that "for the purposes of lineage and history, Field Artillery and Air Defense Artillery shall both be considered a continuation of Artillery."

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Armor

12 December 1776

The Armor branch traces its origin to the Cavalry. A regiment of cavalry was authorized to be raised by the Continental Congress Resolve of 12 December 1776. Although mounted units were raised at various times after the Revolution, the oldest Regular Army cavalry units date to 1833. The Tank Service was formed on 5 March 1918. The Armored Force was formed on 10 July 1940. Armor became a permanent branch with the passage of The Army Organization Act of 1950.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Ordnance Corps

14 May 1812

The Ordnance Department was established by act of Congress on 14 May 1812. During the Revolutionary War, ordnance material was under supervision of the Board of War and Ordnance. Numerous shifts in duties and responsibilities have occurred in the Ordnance Corps since colonial times. It acquired its present with the passage of The Army Organization Act of 1950.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Signal Corps

21 June 1860

The Signal Corps became a branch of the Army by act of Congress on 3 March 1863. However, the Signal Corps dates its existence from 21 June 1860, when Congress authorized the appointment of one signal officer in the Army, and a War Department order carried the following assignment: "Signal Department--Assistant Surgeon Albert J. Myer to be Signal Officer, with the rank of Major, June 27, 1860, to fill an original vacancy."

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Chemical Corps

28 June 1918

The Chemical Warfare Service was established on 28 June 1918, combining activities that until then had been dispersed among five separate agencies of Government. It was made a permanent branch of the Regular Army by the National Defense Act of 1920. In 1945, it was redesignated the Chemical Corps.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Military Police Corps

26 September 1941

A Provost Marshal General's Office and Corps of Military Police were established in 1941. Prior to that time, except during the Civil War and World War I, there was no regularly appointed Provost Marshal General or regularly constituted Military Police Corps, although a "Provost Marshal" can be found as early as January 1776, and a "Provost Corps" in 1778.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Transportation Corps

31 July 1942

The historical background of the Transportation Corps starts with World War I. Prior to that time, transportation operations were chiefly the responsibility of the Quartermaster General. The Transportation Corps, essentially in its present form, was organized on 31 July 1942.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Civil Affairs

17 August 1955

The first Civil Affairs units in the Army were formed during World War II. Additional units saw service in subsequent conflicts. Civil Affairs/Military Government was established as an Army Reserve Branch on 17 August 1955. Subsequently redesignated as the Civil Affairs Branch on 2 October 1959, its members continued its mission to provide guidance to commanders on a broad spectrum of civil affairs activities. The expansion of Civil Affairs in the Regular Army led to Civil Affairs beings established as a basic branch of the Army effective 16 October 2006 by Department of the Army General Orders (AGO) No. 29, 12 January 2007.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Military Intelligence

1 July 1962

Intelligence has been an essential element of Army operations during war as well as during periods of peace. In the past, requirements were met by personnel from the Army Intelligence and Army Security Reserve branches, two-year obligated tour officers, one-tour levies on the various branches, and Regular Army officers in the specialization programs. To meet the Army's increased requirement for national and tactical intelligence, an Intelligence and Security Branch was established in the Army effective 1 July 1962, by General Orders No. 38, dated 3 July 1962. On 1 July 1967, the branch was redesignated as Military Intelligence.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Aviation

12 April 1983

Following the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service in 1947, the Army began to develop further its own aviation assets (light planes and rotary wing aircraft) in support of ground operations. The Korean War gave this drive impetus, and the war in Vietnam saw its fruition, as Army aviation units performed a variety of missions, including reconnaissance, transport, and fire support. After the war in Vietnam, the role of armed helicopters as tank destroyers received new emphasis. In recognition of the growing importance of aviation in Army doctrine and operations, Aviation became a separate branch on 12 April 1983, and a full member of the Army's combined arms team.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Special Forces

9 April 1987

The first Special Forces unit in the Army was formed on 11 June 1952, when the 10th Special Forces Group was activated at Fort Bragg, NC. A major expansion occurred in the 1960s, with additional groups organized in the Regular Army, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard. As a result of renewed emphasis on special operations in the 1980s, the Special Forces branch was established as a basic branch of the Army effective 9 April 1987, by AGO No. 35, 19 June 1987.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Psychological Operations

16 October 2006

The first Psychological Operations units in the Army were formed during World War II. Additional units saw service in subsequent conflicts. Psychological Operations was established as a basic branch of the Army effective October 16, 2006 by AGO No. 30, January 12, 2007.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Logistics

1 January 2008

Logistics was established as a basic branch of the Army effective 1 January 2008 by General Orders No. 6, 27 November 2007.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Cyber

1 September 2014

Cyber was established as a basic branch of the Army effective 1 September 2014 by General Orders No. 63, 21 August 2014.

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Special Branches

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)


Branch Insignia

Information (TIOH)

Army Medical Department

27 July 1775

The Army Medical Department (AMEDD) consists of the Surgeon General, Assistant Surgeons General, and six separate corps (Medical, Army Nurse, Dental, Veterinary, Medical Service, and Army Medical Specialist). The Army Medical Department and the Medical Corps trace their origins to 27 July 1775, when the Continental Congress established the Army hospital headed by a "Director General and Chief Physician." Congress provided a medical organization of the Army only in time of war or emergency until 1818, which marked the inception of a permanent and continuous Medical Department. The Army Organization Act of 1950 renamed the Medical Department as the Army Medical Service. On 4 June 1968, the Army Medical Service was redesignated the Army Medical Department.

The anniversaries the corps which comprise the Army Medical Department are as follows (per AGO 19, dated 31 October 1978):

  • Army Nurse Corps: 2 February 1901
  • Dental Corps: 3 March 1911
  • Veterinary Corps: 3 June 1916
  • Medical Service Corps: 18 May 1917
  • Army Medical Specialist Corps: 16 April 1947

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Chaplains

29 July 1775

The legal origin of the Chaplains is found in a resolution of the Continental Congress, adopted 29 July 1775, which made provision for the pay of chaplains. The Office of the Chief of Chaplains was created by the National Defense Act of 1920.

Branch Insignia
Information (TIOH)

Judge Advocate General's Corps

29 July 1775

The Office of Judge Advocate of the Army may be deemed to have been created on 29 July 1775, and has generally paralleled the origin and development of the American system of military justice. The Judge Advocate General's (JAG) Department, by that name, was established in 1884. Its present designation as a corps was enacted in 1948.