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

  • 2000: 49th Armored Division deploys

    Army strength: 483,115 people (0.17% of U.S. population)

    As relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina improved, a scaling-down of U.S. military presence there began in 1999. Army numbers dropped from 5,400 that year to 3,900 by February 2000. As the 10th Mountain Division returned home in March of that year, it was replaced by the 49th Armored Division, Texas Army National Guard—marking the first deployment outside the U.S. of a division-sized reserve component formation since the Korean War.

  • 2001: 9/11

    Army strength: 482,655 people (0.17% of U.S. population)

    In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush's administration launched Operation Enduring Freedom, the official name for the global War on Terror, which commenced with allied air strikes on various al Qaeda and Taliban targets.

  • 2002: Army recruits with video games

    Army strength: 488,631 people (0.17% of U.S. population)

    Video games became not only a thing of pleasure, but of recruitment and training, at the turn of the 21st century. The first video game used for Army recruitment was “America's Army,” a two-part, first-person shooter game simulating battle.

  • 2003: U.S. Army invades Baghdad amidst looters

    Army strength: 497,770 people (0.17% of U.S. population)

    During the U.S. Army invasion of Baghdad, mobs took the opportunity to loot and burn multiple locations throughout the city, including various offices, embassies, and university labs. Members of the military were criticized for not intervening.

  • 2004: Second Battle of Fallujah

    Army strength: 498,428 people (0.17% of U.S. population)

    The second Battle of Fallujah was fought with the U.S. Marines and Army together with British forces. It was one of the heaviest battles since the Vietnam war.

  • 2005: Iraqi election

    Army strength: 490,632 people (0.17% of U.S. population)

    The U.S. began involving itself in the politics of Iraq as U.S. Army troops provided a presence to increase safety for voters in the Iraqi parliamentary election. The United Iraqi Alliance took 48% of the vote against the Democratic Patriotic Alliance of Kurdistan and the Iraqi List earned 26% and 14% of the vote, respectively.

    Also in 2005, Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester became the first woman in U.S. history to earn the Silver Star for direct combat action.

  • 2006: President Bush visits Afghanistan

    Army strength: 507,131 people (0.17% of U.S. population)

    Five years after launching Operation Enduring Freedom, President George W. Bush paid a visit to Afghanistan. There, he met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and said he was sure Osama bin Laden would be “brought to justice” soon. It would be five more years before bin Laden would be shot and killed. That year, the Army's 3rd Brigade Combat Team and two Battalion Task Forces from the 4th Brigade Combat Team deployed to Afghanistan and were there until 2007.

  • 2007: Troops need more sleep

    Army strength: 522,190 people (0.17% of U.S. population)

    Working hard and pulling long shifts began having an effect on the troops, who news outlets reported were crippled by fatigue with little sleep. Stress and exhaustion were taking their toll, the Guardian reported that year, and were contributing to desertions.

  • 2008: Felons join up

    Army strength: 544,150 people (0.18% of U.S. population)

    Convicted felons in 2008 were able to receive military waivers in order to join the U.S. Army. Crimes like assault, drug dealing, and making terrorist threats were all waived.

  • 2009: Army major kills 13 in Fort Hood

    Army strength: 553,579 people (0.18% of U.S. population)

    A U.S. Army major opened fire in Fort Hood, Texas, killing 13 and injuring 30. The military psychiatrist's shooting spree represents the worst mass murder at a U.S. military installation in history.

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