What Are the Branches of the Military?


Quick Answer

The five branches of the military include the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. Each branch has a Reserve, and the majority of states or territories have an Air National Guard and Army National Guard. The military also has combat and non-combat positions in each branch.

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What Are the Branches of the Military?
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Full Answer

The Army is the oldest branch of the military. The role of the Army is to protect the resources of United States, and this branch ensures the security of the country. The Navy protects national interests internationally and defends the nation's ability to trade or travel freely over the various oceans.

The Air Force defends the interest of the United States abroad and at home with a concentration on the skies. The Marine Corps works closely with the Navy and is the first to act in combat situations. The Coast Guard is used to defend the public, the environment and American interests in international waters and along the coasts and inland waterways.

Each branch of the military has general categories of military personnel that include active duty, reserve forces, guard forces, veterans and retirees. The active duty personnel are considered full-time sailors and soldiers. Reserve and guard forces can be called to full-time duty; however, these soldiers or sailors typically work a civilian job. Veterans and retirees are former members of the military.

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