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"US military branch seniority, why is...?" Topic


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254 hits since 15 Mar 2017
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Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP16 Mar 2017 10:01 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!

tkdguy16 Mar 2017 10:38 p.m. PST

I found this document:

PDF link

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 6:40 a.m. PST

The Navy is older.

It was disestablished, and Hamilton established (well, Hamilton recommended to the Congress to establish) the Cutter Revenue Service.

The CRS was not sufficient to protect American interests, specifically WRT the Barbary Pirates, so we got a Navy back.

The modern Coast Guard name for the CRS dates to 1915.

The mystery I cannot unravel is who cares.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 7:59 a.m. PST

the Revenue Cutter Service and the United States
Lifesaving Service merged to form the US Coast Guard.

The Lifesaving Service had stations on the Great Lakes
and one or two of the major rivers.

jah1956 Inactive Member17 Mar 2017 12:13 p.m. PST

TKDguy Thanks great piece of info

tkdguy17 Mar 2017 8:18 p.m. PST

You're welcome.

Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP17 Mar 2017 9:32 p.m. PST

In part, I care because I am curious that bands playing a medley of the service anthems always seem to play them in the order of seniority, perhaps because that's the way it's regulated in military affairs. Also because that being the case, I understand there's contention between the Army and Navy over which is "really" the oldest, depending on what was authorized or named when, taking into account various organizational changes. And finally, why should the Coast Guard rank below the Air Force, and how is this rationalized?

I also posted this topic on the regular TMP boards and there are a number of responses there, not merged with this TMP-Plus thread. But I wasn't sure exactly where to post this. I thought at one time TMP had a board for matters related to serving members of the armed forces? But I couldn't find it now.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP18 Mar 2017 4:02 a.m. PST

how is this rationalized?

It is an arbitrary decision made by arbitrary criteria in the late 40's. Nobody really cared at the time, so a decision was made. By the time people started caring (the bit I can't understand), their caring makes it a political issue, so it is best left alone rather than changed. Especially since there is no real reason to care, thus no compelling reason to stir up additional emotions by changing it.

Or, in more military terms (in order of precedence):

Army – I don't care what the answer is. As long as they're complaining, they're happy.

Marine Corps – I don't know what the official precedence is … I just know who you call first when you have a problem.

Navy – This again. Two-hundred and forty-two years of tradition, unhindered by progress.

Air Force – Does this affect my pay?

Coast Guard – I'll get back to you after I'm done intercepting human traffickers, drug runners, and saving people's lives …

Old Wolfman20 Mar 2017 5:52 a.m. PST

Although when Erich Kunzel conducted the annual Memorial Day Concert on TV and the "Armed Forces Medley" would be played, it usually would be Air Force,Marine Corps,Coast Guard,Army,and Navy. As each service march played,veterans of those respective branches would stand up in the audience,as Kunzel called out the name of each branch.

Tyler32614 Sep 2017 5:41 p.m. PST

US ARMY is the oldest … not the NAVY!
The United States Army is the oldest branch of the Unites States Armed Forces. The United States Army was established by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1775. The Navy and Marines were formed later in 1775 then the Coast Guard in 1915 and finally the Air Force in 1947.

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