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If it moves, salute it; if it doesn't move, pick it up; if you can't pick it up, paint it.
-- Army Law

The Army is the oldest branch of the Armed Forces in the United States of America, created by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775, and is primarily concerned with extended land operations. For the most part, the US Army is strictly volunteer, however the Federal Government reserves the right to institute a conscription though typically only enforces this right during times of war. The Army consists of the active duty Army, the Army Reserves, the Army National Guard, and various civilian employees under the direction of the Department of the Army.

Structure

The Army is comprised of three major groups: Combat Arms, Combat Support, and Combat Service Support. These three groups are in turn broken down into the following:

Combat Arms

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Combat Support

Combat Service Support

Chain of Command

Being in the army is like being in the Boy Scouts, except that the Boy Scouts have adult supervision.
-- Blake Clark

Like all US military chains of command, the Army starts with the president and works its way down to the lowest private.

Units

Below is a generalized structure of the organization of different units in the US Army. All strengths are the desired combat strength levels. Several things can effect the actual size or leadership of any of these units including enlistment levels, wartime, fluctuations in the economy, etc.

Soldier
Naming Convention: A soldier is typically called by his rank and last name (i.e., Private Pyle)
Strength: 1 man or woman
 
Section / Team / Crew
Naming Convention: Sections/Teams are usually not named, but are distinguished by the NCO in charge (i.e., Sgt. Pepper's team). Crews are distinguished by their vehicle number.
Strength: 2-4 soldiers
Leadership: Section Leader or Team Leader - usually a Specialist, Corporal, or Sergeant
 
Squad
Naming Convention: Squads are usually numbered (i.e., 3rd Squad)
Strength: 2-3 sections (about 8-12 soldiers)
Leadership: Squad Leader - usually a Sergeant or Staff Sergeant
 
Platoon
Naming Convention: Platoons are usually numbered (i.e., 1st Platoon)
Strength: 4-5 squads
NCO Leadership: Platoon Sergeant - usually a Staff Sergeant or Sergeant First Class
Officer Leadership: Platoon Leader - usually a Second Lieutenant or First Lieutenant
 
Team
Naming Convention: Teams do not have a standard naming convention (e.g., Blue Team, Sapper Team, etc.)
Strength: An ad hoc, combined arms organization of 4-5 platoons
NCO Leadership: Varies with purpose of team formation - usually a Sergeant First Class, Master Sergeant, or First Sergeant
Officer Leadership: Varies with purpose of team formation - usually a Captain
 
Company / Battery / Squadron / Troop
Naming Convention: Companies are lettered (Alpha (A) Company)
Strength: 4-5 platoons
NCO Leadership: First Sergeant
Officer Leadership: Company Commander - usually a Captain
 
Task Force
Naming Convention: Task Forces do not have a standard naming convention (e.g., Task Force XXI, Dragon Task Force, etc.)
Strength: An ad hoc, combined arms organization composed of 4-5 companies
NCO Leadership: Varies with purpose of team formation - usually a Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major
Officer Leadership: Varies with purpose of team formation - usually a Lieutenant Colonel
 
Battalion / Squadron
Naming Convention: Battalions are signified by number and type (i.e., 299th Engineering Battalion or 2nd Bombardment Squadron)
Strength: 4-5 companies
NCO Leadership: Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major
Officer Leadership: Battalion or Squadron Commander - usually a Lieutenant Colonel
 
Combat Command
Naming Convention: Combat Commands do not have a standard naming convention (e.g., Combat Command Bravo, Chinese Combat Command, etc.)
Strength: An ad hoc, combined arms organization composed of 2-3 battalions
NCO Leadership: Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major
Officer Leadership: Colonel
 
Brigade / Regiment / Group
Naming Convention: Brigades are signified by number and type (i.e., 89th Military Police Brigade)
Strength: 2-3 battalions
NCO Leadership: Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major
Officer Leadership: Brigade, Regiment, or Group Commander - usually a Colonel
 
Division
Naming Convention: Divisions are signified by number and type (i.e., 2nd Infantry Division)
Strength: 2-3 brigades
NCO Leadership: Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major
Officer Leadership: Division Commander - usually a Brigadier General (one star) or Major General (two star)
 
Corps
Naming Convention: Corps are typically numbered with roman numerals (i.e., III Corps)
Strength: 3-4 divisions
NCO Leadership: Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major
Officer Leadership: Corps Commander - usually a Major General
 
Army
Naming Convention: Armies are numbered (i.e., 8th Army)
Strength: 2-4 corps
NCO Leadership: Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major
Officer Leadership: Lieutenant General (3 star) or General (4 star)
 
Army Group
Naming Convention: Army Groups are numbered (i.e., 1st Army Group)
Strength: 2-3 armies
NCO Leadership: Sergeant Major or Command Sergeant Major
Officer Leadership: General or General of the Army (5 star)
 

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