Help support TMP


"US military branch seniority; Why is....?" Topic


32 Posts

All members in good standing are free to post here. Opinions expressed here are solely those of the posters, and have not been cleared with nor are they endorsed by The Miniatures Page.

For more information, see the TMP FAQ.


Back to the Modern Discussion (1946 to 2006) Message Board

Back to the Ultramodern Warfare (2006-present) Message Board

Back to the Utter Drivel Message Board



1,196 hits since 16 Mar 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
Comments or corrections?

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2017 11:03 p.m. PST

Surprisingly, I could not find an answer to this on a general Google search, but I bet TMP members have vaster experience and knowledge. I'm curious about two things regarding military seniority in the US armed forces. I understand that the Army is ranked as senior to the Navy, but what is this based on? Wasn't the Navy established before the Army?

And what about the Coast Guard? It dates in its modern form and name from 1915 -- a generation or more before there was a US Air Force. yet the Air Force is ranked higher in seniority. What th--?

Who can help me with answers? Thanks!

mikeda16 Mar 2017 11:16 p.m. PST

Army was established June 14th 1775 when congress nationalized the militias surrounding Boston after Lexington and concord. The marines was established a couple months later. The navy was established after the decoration of independence and disbanded at the end of the revolution. The date for the permiment navy established is 1803.

Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2017 11:45 p.m. PST

Coast Guard has not always been a part of the Department of Defense. It was only part of the Navy during time of war, and otherwise was in the Dept. of Treasury in peace. So AF is senior.
Mike Bunkermeister Creek
Bunker Talk blog

Supercilius Maximus17 Mar 2017 12:07 a.m. PST

In the UK, the order is Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force. The navy was established by either Edward the Confessor, Henry VIII, or Charles II (depending on who you believe and, in my experience, how drunk you are), whilst I think the Army dates from 1660 officially (some units pre-date that and go back to the New Model/Commonwealth) the British Army only dates from 1707, the RAF dates from 1st April 1918, when the Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying Corps (Army) were amalgamated.

Supercilius Maximus17 Mar 2017 12:07 a.m. PST

In the UK, the order is Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force. The navy was established by either Edward the Confessor, Henry VIII, or Charles II (depending on who you believe and, in my experience, how drunk you are), whilst I think the Army dates from 1660 officially (some units pre-date that and go back to the New Model/Commonwealth) the British Army only dates from 1707, the RAF dates from 1st April 1918, when the Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying Corps (Army) were amalgamated.

Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 2:26 a.m. PST

And why isn´t the British army royal?

Zargon Inactive Member17 Mar 2017 2:39 a.m. PST

I think it was because there were so many scotch, irish and welshmen in the army Jack, winks.

JimDuncanUK17 Mar 2017 2:42 a.m. PST

The Army was raised by an act of Parliament to counter forces loyal to the King.

Norman D Landings Inactive Member17 Mar 2017 3:37 a.m. PST

It's true that the modern British army traces its origin to Parlimentarian forces, but even before that, the army was composed of regiments which were raised and funded by their colonels.

(Ships, on the other hand, were commissioned by the crown, hence 'Royal Navy')

Just to confuse matters, some regiments were raised and funded by the crown, and do bear the title 'Royal'.
(And to muddy the waters further, some regiments were given the prefix 'Royal' as an honorific.) But the army as a whole does not.

And on a more basic level: both the Royal Navy and The Royal Airforce have Royal Charters authorising their establishment.
Because of its piecemeal regimental origins, the army does not.

Mike Target17 Mar 2017 3:47 a.m. PST

I believe both the RN and USN claim their origins in Alfred the Great's navy , and both name ships after him.

So thats 9th century?

Dn Jackson17 Mar 2017 6:13 a.m. PST

Yet even with seniority as described, the Marine Corps has the honorific of head of column and right of line in mixed formations.

Rakkasan Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 6:58 a.m. PST

Not sure your source Dn Jackson. I have not seen that in any ceremony.

mikeda17 Mar 2017 8:08 a.m. PST

According to this:
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE – UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES
Authority: Title 10, USC 113b, 133(b); DOD Directive 1005.8 dated 31 OCT 1977, certified as current on 21 NOV 2003 until further notice FOR USE WHEN IN PARADE OR INSPECTION FORMATION AND FOR DISPLAY OF FLAGS, SEALS, EMBLEMS, INSIGNIA, ETC.
The order of seniority and precedence is as follows
Army
Marines
Navy
Air Force
Coast Guard.
It also has a q and a on why if congress authorized the navy before the marines why the marines are more senior. The answer is the first officer commissioned in the marines was commissioned before the frist navel officer was commissioned.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 9:04 a.m. PST

And the USAF is senior to the USCG because the USAF
'parent', US Army (US Army Air Corps) is older than the
USCG.

zoneofcontrol Inactive Member17 Mar 2017 9:44 a.m. PST

What about the Salvation Army?

Personal logo Dye4minis Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 9:57 a.m. PST

They went back into garrison after Christmas. They are being "saved" for future operations! When it comes to combatting holiday lonliness, they "Know Well". (Groan, I know, I know…couldn't resist!) It's always been the Salvation Air Force that makes visits to museums of planes worth while for us all!

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 1:36 p.m. PST

The Coast Guard is under the Department of Homeland Security. Before DHS it was under the Department of Transportation. In war it would fall under DOD or the Navy, I think.

Skeets Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 3:45 p.m. PST

The Coast Guard was formerly part of the Treasury.

chaos0xomega17 Mar 2017 6:53 p.m. PST

Order of Precedence is Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force/Coast Guard. Dn Jackson is incorrect in saying that the Marines have the lead in mixed formations.

The Army is first, as it was founded first as the Continental Army, and remained in existence throughout the nations history (later being rebranded as the United States Army).

The Marines come next because at the end of the Revolution both the Continental Marines and Continental Navy were disbanded. Even though the Continental Navy predates the Continental Marines (contrary to what Mikeda stated), and the United States Navy predates the United States Marines upon their reestablishment (again contrary to Mikeda), the Marine Corps has long been consistent in affirming its birth date as the Continental Marines birthdate, whilst the Navy has been inconsistant and for some time used its reestablishment as the US Navy as its birthdate, thus giving the Marines a technical age advantage over the Navy. Yhere have been some efforts and attempts to revise the order of precedence on that basis recently but they never went anywhere.

The Navy comes next, because as I said for a long time they went by the date of reestablishment rather than their original founding date as the continental navy.

The Air Force and Coast Guard are actually variable, the Air Force usually comes first, but if the Coast Guard is deputized as part of the Navy during wartime then the Coast Guard bumps the Air Force to last.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 8:55 p.m. PST

Yikes! This is all a lot more complicated and ambiguous/debateable than I'd imagined. So much seems to hinge on when what was established when, under what name, and then subsequent lineage/reorganizations/transfers.

In the UK, are the Household Guards considered in a different way from the rest of the Army, in terms of seniority, who they answer to, etc.? Don't all the Household troops answer directly, ultimately, to the monarch? Which may be in contrast to the "line" formations?

Lion in the Stars18 Mar 2017 2:36 a.m. PST

Yikes! This is all a lot more complicated and ambiguous/debateable than I'd imagined. So much seems to hinge on when what was established when, under what name, and then subsequent lineage/reorganizations/transfers.
Yup.

Coast Guard getting tail end of the line comes from them not being a military organization 24/7. They're law enforcement that get 'deputized' into military service in case of War.

Supercilius Maximus18 Mar 2017 4:19 a.m. PST

In the UK, are the Household Guards considered in a different way from the rest of the Army, in terms of seniority, who they answer to, etc.? Don't all the Household troops answer directly, ultimately, to the monarch? Which may be in contrast to the "line" formations?

Others may be able to give you a more precise answer, but the short version is "not any more, really". It used to be that the Foot Guards and Household Cavalry (Life Guards and Blues) were answerable only to the Sovereign – I think that the Composite Brigade of Foot Guards in the AWI was the first time they weren't commanded in the field by either the reigning monarch or his son. In theory, the Sovereign can mobilise these units without the permission of Parliament, but in reality this would not happen any more.

To give you two examples, the right flank (formerly "grenadier") company of the 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, is always styled The Queen's (King's) Company. They carry the body of a dead monarch at her/his funeral, and have a standard presented by a reigning monarch on her/his accession to the throne, and which is buried with that person. The Irish Guards has a "Queen's Drummer" who attends (ie attempts to control) the regimental mascot – a Wolfhound. The other five regiments of the Household Division also have specific, and unique, links with the Sovereign.

Personal logo Texas Jack Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2017 7:11 a.m. PST

Thanks fellas for the answers to why there is no Royal Army. thumbs up

Tgunner Supporting Member of TMP18 Mar 2017 1:17 p.m. PST

Well there is the Royal Army Service Corps!!

Supercilius Maximus18 Mar 2017 2:14 p.m. PST

Aka "Run Away, Someone's Coming".

jah1956 Inactive Member19 Mar 2017 5:45 a.m. PST

As my pappy used to say old but here it comes anyway

US Marine Buddies been shot all around no support and out of ammo pulls out a side arm Thinks war is hell starts to fire.

US Army Shells going of all around him can not see any of his buddies checks his spare mags Thinks war is hell starts to fire.

US Navy Ship badly hit and sinking all alone loads gun Thinks war is hell starts to fire.

US Airforce Pilot wakes up finds air con not working and no Wi Fi Thinks war is hell and starts to think about getting another job

Sorry Flyboys but only you guys do not think this is funny.

Murvihill20 Mar 2017 12:27 p.m. PST

If you give the command "SECURE THE BUILDING", here is what the different services would do:

The NAVY would turn out the lights and lock the doors.

The ARMY would surround the building with defensive fortifications, tanks and concertina wire.

The MARINE CORPS would assault the building, using overlapping fields of fire from all appropriate points on the perimeter.

The AIR FORCE would take out a three-year lease with an option to buy the building.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP20 Mar 2017 1:17 p.m. PST

Hey jah1956, I'm a flyboy and I think it is funny. I've heard many variations of that joke over the years, some with pictures, and I always find them funny and think to myself how lucky I was to be in the Air Force.

ScottS29 Mar 2017 8:45 p.m. PST

Personal logo capncarp Supporting Member of TMP30 Mar 2017 10:06 p.m. PST

ScottS: I'll bet the chocolate isn't even Hershey's! Where has our duty to support our troops with adequate supplies gone????

lincolnlog Inactive Member01 Apr 2017 2:31 a.m. PST

The Coast Guard was formerly Department of Treasury, but it was previously Department of Transportation before being moved to Homeland Security. This move was to enhance interdepartmental cooperation between Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs.

The Coast Guard has served under more departments than any other governmental agency.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP02 Apr 2017 12:48 p.m. PST

ho-ho!! You flyboys, tars, and pongos crack me up! Good jokes. I'm sending these all to my brother-in-law the ex-USAF grunt.

And thanks, SM, for the overview of the British Guards situation.

Sorry - only verified members can post on the forums.