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U.S. Army history from the year you were born

  • 2010: Army sent to Haiti

    Army strength: 566,045 people (0.18% of U.S. population)

    The U.S. Army returned to Haiti in 2010 following a large earthquake shook the nation. More than 20,000 soldiers and other members of services attended to victims of the earthquake.

  • 2011: U.S. troops leave Iraq

    Army strength: 565,463 people (0.18% of U.S. population)

    The last U.S. troops left Iraq in December 2011. The war took 4,500 American lives and countless lives of Iraqis.

  • 2012: Military gets trimmed

    Army strength: 550,063 people (0.18% of U.S. population)

    President Barack Obama began shrinking the military with a cut of 40,000 active duty service members. The president blamed slashes to the budget and defaulted government loans for the cutbacks.

  • 2013: Women join the front lines

    Army strength: 532,043 people (0.17% of U.S. population)

    Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in January 2013 lifted the direct ground combat exclusion that had banned women from fighting on the front lines. That month, women began to integrate into those units.

  • 2014: Army hairstyles get a closer look

    Army strength: 508,210 people (0.16% of U.S. population)

    In a 2014 review of Army policy regarding unauthorized hair styles, previously restricted hairdos were found to be disproportionately restrictive for natural, African American hairstyles. The restrictions had been put in place in March of that year, to fierce backlash. Updated guidelines allow for two-strand twists, larger accepted braid sizes, and the removal of the phrase “matted and unkempt” from guidelines.

  • 2015: Army shrinks to pre-WWII levels

    Army strength: 491,365 people (0.15% of U.S. population)

    To meet new budgetary guidelines, the Pentagon announced in 2015 that the U.S. Army would be shrunk to levels unseen since prior to World War II. Other cuts included the retirement of the A-10 aircraft and lowered benefits for military members. While the cuts indicated a more peaceful era for troops, they also hinted at the potential for U.S. forces to be ill-equipped to fight on multiple lines if the need arose.

  • 2016: Army reduced further

    Army strength: 475,400 people (0.15% of U.S. population)

    Budget cuts in 2016 slashed the U.S. Army further. The lowest amount of active duty soldiers in years was achieved that year, with further cuts desired.

  • 2017: Immigrant recruits can't serve

    Army strength: 476,245 people (0.15% of U.S. population)

    More than 500 immigrant recruits were discharged within a single year following the tabling of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest recruiting program, which drew in talent from around the globe with the promise of expedited tracks to citizenship. The recruits, courted for their medical skills or language abilities, were let go without due cause when fears arose that the vetting system for said recruits was not thorough enough.

  • 2018: U.S. Army has stations throughout Africa

    Army strength: 413,593 people (0.13% of U.S. population)

    Much to the surprise of the public, the U.S. Army and other service branches were on missions in more than 20 African countries in 2018 alone. The American presence was largely to offer African militaries assistance and training as needed. The only permanent U.S. military base in Africa is in Djibouti, along the continent's east coast.

  • 2019: First woman poised to lead U.S. Army Infantry division

    Army strength: 416,876 people (0.13% of U.S. population)

    Brig. Gen. Laura Yeager will be the first woman to lead any U.S. Army infantry when Maj. Gen. Mark Malanka retires from the California National Guard's 40th Infantry Division June 29, 2019. The division was led by men since its inception in 1917. Yeager was promoted in 2016 to brigadier general—at the time, only the fourth woman to reach such a rank in the California National Guard.

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