I. Text research Definition: A military officer, a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, is responsible for the protection of U.S. citizens. This is a broad responsibility however and each officer has a distinct role that (s) he plays in the maintenance of national defense. As a member of the military, an officer signs a contract and must serve a number of years before retirement is possible. There are five branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Army is the senior service and fight mostly on land. They had around 572,000 personnel in 1993. The Navy is seaborne the force of the U.S. Naval officers and enlisted spend long periods at sea and travel all about the world. In 1993 the Navy had about 510,000 personnel. The Air Force is the newest of the five branches and specializes in aviation and mechanical trades. Over 440,000 people were serving in the Air Force in 1993.
The Marine Corps operate on both the land and the sea. They are "first to fight" and establish a front for the other branches to run their campaigns from. The Marines are quite close with the Navy and provide security on ships and bases. They also guard U.S. embassies. There were approximately 178,000 Marines in 1993. The Coast Guard is the smallest of the military services and is in charge of the enforcement of maritime law. They are also responsible for the rescue of those in distress at sea. Unlike the other branches, the Coast Guard is a service of the Department of Transportation except during a war, when they operate as a part of the Navy. (Career Information, 1996, 268, -270) History: America's first forces of defense were militias of the colonies. The first was Virginia in 1611 Followed by Massachusetts in 1636.