Happy Veterans Day – 14 Interesting Facts About the U.S. Military

Happy Veterans Day! To honor all the wonderful veterans on this special day, I thought I’d switch it up this time around with a unique post.

Our armed forces are the best in the world to which we have some brave and honorable veterans to thank for building such an impressive force. I’d be remiss not to thank them and their families for their service and sacrifices. It is an honor to be wife to an awesome Army combat veteran who is currently an active duty officer, as well as to come from a long line of soldiers and seamen who served in wartime. Both my grandfathers served, one in the Army, one in the Navy. My father served in both the Army and Navy, and my uncles served in the Army. In addition, I have numerous cousins who have served and are currently serving. I was pretty much born into this life, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I am humbled to serve and support our service members and their families in any capacity I am able, from providing mental health services to volunteer opportunities. So without further ado, let’s celebrate our veterans with some fun and interesting facts about our amazing military!


  • The Department of Defense’s 1033 program allows state and local law enforcement agencies to acquire surplus military-grade equipment. This includes everything from vehicles (land, air and sea) to weapons to sleeping bags and radios.

  • The Pentagon will fund Hollywood movies that portray the military in a positive light.

  • The United States Department of Defense is the largest employer in the world, employing 3.2 million people. Walmart is listed as the number 3 employer. 


  • 30 Presidents served in the U.S. Army during wartime. George Washington and Dwight D. Eisenhower earned the rank of 5-star General and Theodore Roosevelt earned the Medal of Honor.

  • If the U.S. Army were a city, it would be the 10th largest in the United States. If a city were filled with soldiers, it would have more people in it than San Jose, California; Austin, Texas; Jacksonville, Florida; and San Francisco, California.

  • Rangers are the Army’s elite light infantry force. The Ranger motto is “Rangers lead the way!” The motto came from an exchange between General Norman Cota and Major Max Schneider on Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion.

    “What outfit is this?” asked Cota.
    “5th Rangers, sir,” said Schneider.
    “Well, goddammit,” said Cota, “If you’re Rangers, lead the way!”


  • The U.S. Air Force tracks Santa Clause. Seriously, how cool is that? It is said that on December 24, 1955 a newspaper ad told kids that they could call Santa and included a phone number that happened to be a digit off, and went to the Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD). Reportedly, the colonel on duty ordered his team to give all kids Santa’s “current location.” This tradition now continues as volunteers run the program. Each volunteer typically  handles about forty telephone calls per hour, and the team typically handles more than 12,000 e-mails and more than 70,000 telephone calls from more than two hundred countries and territories. They also utilize the internet as children can view Santa’s progress online at noradsanta.org.

    Image: Mentalfloss
  • In March, some airmen participate in a tradition called the Mustache March where airmen grow mustaches to honor Air Force legend and triple ace Brig. Gen. Robin Olds.img_5652

  • The United States Coast Guard is the only military branch that doesn’t belong to the Defense Department. It is an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

  • According to the U.S. Coast Guard Boating Resource Center, on an average day, the Coast Guard conducts 109 searches and rescues, saves ten lives, investigates six vessel casualties, and seizes 169 pounds of marijuana and 306 pounds of cocaine worth $9,589,000.00.


  • Leatherneck is a slang term for Marines. The nickname originated in 1798 when the Marine Corps issued “one stock of black leather and clasp” to Marines. It was worn to protect their necks when fighting with swords. Today, the standing collar on the dress coat of the Marine Corps uniform is a vestige of the leatherneck tradition.

  • CNN medical correspondent and neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta saved the life of Marine Jesus Vidana after he was shot in the head by a sniper in Iraq. Without proper tools in the field, Gupta performed the brain surgery with a Black and Decker handheld drill. Oh, and he’s still alive!


  • Navy SEALs have trained their brains to process fear differently. The strenuous training they undergo changes the way their brains process fear. Through this training, they have better stress-reducing methods and are able to think clearly in times of chaos.

  • Inside the Navy digital uniforms there’s a tiny Navy emblem printed inside the pattern. Next time you’re close to your sailor, see if you can spot one!

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