How Much Do You Know About America's Armed Forces?


By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

In the United States, the military isn’t just an abstract force — it’s a symbol of duty and measure of reassurance in a world full of turmoil. It’s also regarded as an honorable life path. Of America’s 45 presidents, 32 have served in the United States Armed Forces in some capacity.

For good or bad, the U.S. military is the most identifiable face of the nation in countries around the world. Our soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen are stationed in every corner of the globe.

The military is the defensive backbone and the offensive firepower that boggles the mind. No other country on Earth spends as much money on its armed forces as the United States. But can you even name all of the branches of the service?

One branch is formulated best for land warfare and defensive measures. Another is specially trained for the complex challenges of amphibious fights. And of course, you can probably name the branch that takes to the skies in ultra-fast fighters and gigantic bombers.

America’s armed forces are young compared to many similar forces around the world. Do you know much about the history of the various branches of service? Let’s see if you can do battle with our armed forces quiz right now!

How many branches are there in the U.S. military?

There are five primary branches of the U.S. military. They are the Army, Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force.


Who is the Commander-in-Chief of every branch of the military?

The elected president of America is the official Commander-in-Chief of the entire military. Sometimes, that’s a reassuring thought ... other times, not so much.


Which branch is the largest?

Of the five branches, the Army is the biggest. It currently has just shy of 480,000 personnel on active duty and in reserve.


Which branch is specifically tasked with maritime law enforcement?

The Coast Guard is a unique branch of the military. One of its primary tasks is maritime law enforcement in both domestic and international waters.


“Semper Fi" is the motto of which branch?

The Marines live — and sometimes die — by their motto of "Semper Fi," which means "Always faithful." You’ve likely heard it screamed by characters in war movies now and then.


Which branch of the service is strongly linked to the Navy?

The Marines are closely associated with the Navy, and the two branches often work together on missions during training and war.


Which branch of the military was established first?

In 1775, the Continental Army was officially formed. Its first task? Mopping up the unwelcome British forces on America’s shores.


The _____ is the branch that’s tasked with conducting amphibious operations of all kinds.

The Marine Corps trains for the complications of amphibious missions. They are capable of landing both men and equipment in some of the worst environmental conditions on the planet.


Which branch is regarded as the nation’s primary land force and defensive power?

The Army is the biggest and oldest branch of the military. It is relied upon for ground attacks and defensive measures all over the world.


Which branch has divisions called the Reserve and National Guard?

Not everyone is a Regular Army, active-duty soldier. The Army also counts on much of its manpower stocked away in the Reserve and the National Guard.


Which branch’s motto is "This We’ll Defend"?

The Army is America’s primary land warfare unit, and as such, it’s also meant for defensive purposes. Its motto is "This We’ll Defend."


When was the Air Force created as a separate branch of the military?

In 1947, just after WWII, the Air Force was established as a unique entity of the armed forces. It is now one of the most technologically advanced forces in the world.


What’s the name of the federal plan that can conscript males into the military?

All males between 18-25 must register with the Selective Service System. In times of war, like Vietnam, the government may draft men from this pool of young men.


Which branch spends much of its time and budget training for disaster response?

The Coast Guard is all about protecting people and borders. Its personnel constantly train to respond to disasters like hurricanes.


About how many aircraft does the Air Force have at its disposal?

The Air Force has roughly 5,500 aircraft with which to conduct its missions. America’s other branches stock plenty of aircraft, too, greatly adding to the total.


True or false, is the U.S. Air Force the largest air force in the world?

It’s true, America has the largest air force in the world. Its advanced weaponry and range makes it one of the nation’s most potent military tools.


Which branch was disbanded after the American Revolution?

After America won its independence, it disbanded the Army. Why? A lingering mistrust of standing armies and what those men could do in the wrong hands.


“Always ready" is the motto of which branch?

The Coast Guard lives by the phrase "Always ready." Whether that means saving people at sea or doing battle, the Coast Guard is always prepared.


The U.S. Navy was established during which war?

In 1775, shortly after the founding of the Army, the Navy was born. It all started when the Continental Congress bought two, yes two, ships meant to harass the British.


How many active fleets does the Navy currently have at its disposal?

The Navy has six (rather vast) fleets with which to control its sphere of influence around the world. Each fleet is led by an admiral.


Which branch expends many resources toward stopping drug smuggling?

Many drug traffickers use boats and ships to smuggle their wares across U.S. borders. The Coast Guard often nabs those shipments before they reach shore.


During the American Revolution, the Navy was so decimated by the British that its number of active-duty ships dropped to ____.

The Americans added more and more ships to the Navy, and the British kept capturing or destroying them. At one low point, the Navy had just two ships on active duty.


After the president, who is the top leader of America’s armed forces?

The Secretary of Defense is a top dog in the military. He or she has the influence to control many aspects of each branch.


The ____ is primarily responsible for defending America’s interests in space.

The Air Force, with its flight capabilities and cutting-edge technologies, takes on the vast majority of space-related military operations. No word yet if pilots have deployed America’s version of the Death Star.


Which branch of the military suffered the most casualties in World War II?

Army infantrymen suffered hundreds of thousands of casualties during the biggest war in history. It may be surprising that the Air Force, with nearly 70,000 killed, had the second-highest number of fatalities in the conflict.


True or false, is the Marine Corps an individual branch that’s separate from all other branches?

It’s true, although the Marines have a long-standing history with the Navy, the Corps is very much a distinct force with its own orders and operations.


The SEALs are an elite group of fighters who fall under which branch?

Navy SEALs endure some of the harshest training in any military in the world. It’s why these Navy special soldiers are called to duty for the most important (and most dangerous) missions.


Which branch relies on the Navy for its medical services?

The Marines are a fighting force, "the tip of the sword" in many battle situations. As such, they rely on the Navy for many medical services.


True or false, has the Coast Guard been a part of every war since 1790?

The Coast Guard is often misconstrued as simply a law enforcement tool. In fact, this branch has been a part of every single war since 1790.


America’s annual budget for its armed forces account for how much of the world’s total military expenditures?

At nearly $600 billion, the U.S. drops an unfathomable amount of money into its armed forces, accounting for about 40% of all military expenditures on Earth.


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