By Danielle DeSimone
When celebrating Armed Forces Day, it’s important to not only acknowledge past victories and accomplishments of our military forces, but also their current efforts to maintain liberty and peace all around the world.
Celebrate each branch of the U.S. military by learning about their current operations to serve our nation – and how they’ve pivoted to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic:
The U.S. Army has been serving the people of the United States before there even was a United States. It is the Army that fought against the British and established our nation’s independence, and it is that same Army that protects our country today.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has required flexibility in operations, the Army has continued with its missions overseas, serving on the front lines regardless of the challenges. This has included everything from training with our allies to counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East.
Simultaneously, the Army has played a significant role in the Department of Defense’s response to coronavirus here at home – especially in its activation and deployment of the National Guard. Members of the National Guard have stepped up to support their local communities. This includes sanitizing nursing homes, distributing groceries from food banks, manning COVID-19 test sites and supporting the civilian hospital workforce. These actions have gone a long way in supporting the American people during this time and demonstrating that the U.S. military is a force for good both at home and abroad.
As the largest navy in the entire world, the U.S. Navy is a force to be reckoned with. This military branch has been maintaining the freedom of the seas since 1775 and today, it is crucial in the defense strategy of our nation and others around the world.
Like all military branches, the Navy has had to adjust its operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of its fleet and personnel. However, Navy ships are still in full force. In fact, six of its aircraft carriers are currently out at sea, carrying out essential missions.
While the Navy has faced its own challenges during the coronavirus pandemic, the branch has not only persevered, but also stepped up to help American citizens. Naval hospital ships such as the USNS Comfort and the USNS Mercy were sent to New York City and Los Angeles to provide medical support to some of the hardest-hit regions of the U.S. Meanwhile, the Navy has also created a deployable biocontainment system to protect medical professionals processing COVID-19 testing kits.
As the aerial warfare branch of the United States military, the U.S. Air Force’s domain is over the air, space and cyberspace. The Air Force has continued to aim high in these fields since its official establishment in 1947, and today, that tradition of excellence remains the same.
Despite COVID-19, the U.S. Air Force is still carrying out essential missions. Some airmen are hard at work at ensuring the safety of skies over the U.S., while others are deployed on missions overseas. Some have even been exploring the stars, as the newly-founded U.S. Space Force is already set to break records with back-to-back rocket launches.
While these missions on the front lines remain essential, airmen are also pivoting to the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. The Air Force has delivered crucial swab tests from Italy to the U.S., as well as begun production of millions of N95 masks for healthcare workers. Meanwhile, activated Air National Guard units have run test sites in Iowa, while other airmen are 3D printing face shields for their local communities.
As the Navy’s “force-in-readiness,” the U.S. Marine Corps is unique in its ability to respond quickly to almost any situation. Today, the Marine Corps continues to serve as the tip of the spear in operations around the world, from counterterrorism efforts in Africa to air operations in Asia.
The Marines have also supported Americans in this time of need. Marines and sailors from II Marine Expeditionary Force deployed to Massachusetts to support FEMA in delivering supplies and personnel wherever needed. Marines in New York City put their training to good use to help save urgent-care COVID-19 patients headed for the hospital ship USNS Comfort.
As the only military branch that falls under the Department of Homeland Security, rather than the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard is vital in maintaining the safety of our nation’s coastlines and waterways. Today, the Coast Guard conducts counter-drug trafficking missions, enforces fishing and regional security regulations and performs regular search-and-rescue operations.
Coasties have continued to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic not only by rescuing people from sinking ships, but also by sewing masks for their local healthcare workers and donating plasma after they have recovered from COVID-19.
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