Certificate of Merit Medal (Obsolete)
Distinguished Service Cross
Distinguished Service Medal
Soldier's Medal
Army Commendation Medal
Army Achievement Medal

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The Army was created on June 14, 1775, when the Continental Congress first authorized the muster of troops to serve under its own authority. Those soldiers came from the provincial forces of the colonies, which were at that time laying siege to Boston. From its birth, the American Army has relied on the citizen soldier, exemplified by the militia and the Minutemen who fought the British at Lexington and Concord. Commanded by General George Washington and supported by our French allies, the Continental Army ultimately defeated the British at Yorktown and secured the freedoms so eloquently stated in the Declaration of Independence. 

The legal basis for a military establishment is clearly set forth in the Constitution. In Articles I and II, the framers codified the principle of civilian control over the armed forces of the United States. They specified that Congress alone would have the power to raise and support armies, to declare war, and to make rules concerning captures on land and water. They further provided that the President, as the Nation's Chief Executive, would be the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. This responsibility, coupled with treaty-making authority, the power to appoint federal officers, and the requirement to "take care that the laws be faithfully executed," provides the principal constitutional bases for Presidential direction of national security affairs. Thus, the responsibility for providing the nation's defense through the armed forces of the United states is constitutionally shared by civilian officials in the legislative and executive branches of the Federal Government. 

  • Organize, train, and equip forces for the conduct of prompt and sustained combat operations on land (specifically forces to defeat enemy land forces and to seize, occupy, and defend land areas); 
  • Organize, train, equip, and provide forces for appropriate air and missile defense and space control operations; 
  • Develop airborne doctrine, procedures, and equipment that are common to the Army and Marine Corps; 
  • Organize, equip, and provide Army forces for joint amphibious, airborne, and space operations and train such forces, in accordance with joint doctrines; 
  • Organize, equip, and provide forces for the support and conduct of special operations; 
  • Organize, equip, and provide forces for the support and conduct of psychological operations; 
  • Furnish forces for the occupation of territories abroad; and, 
  • Conduct the authorized civil works program, including projects for improvement of navigation, flood control, beach erosion control, and other water resources developments in the United States. 

*Adapted from Department of Defense Directive 5100.1 


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