It is because of the bravery and fortitude of the United States Armed Forces that we are able to call ourselves a free nation, enjoying the security and liberties that are often taken for granted. Each branch of the U.S. Armed Forces has a distinctive history and serves a unique purpose, but yet all work in unison to defend our great land.

To help teach your kids about our military and the differences between each branch, here are five coloring pages with some fun facts about the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Click on each image to open the printable version.

The United States Army

The United States Army was established on June 14, 1775, by the Second Continental Congress (making it older than the country itself). The Army serves as the primary ground force operation, using ground troops and weaponry such as tanks, helicopters, and rifles. Mules are the mascot of the Army because of the history of using these strong animals to haul their weapons and supplies. “The Army Goes Rolling Along” is the Army’s official song, stating “We’ll fight with all our might, as the Army keeps rolling along.”  In the same theme, the Army has clung to its motto of “This We’ll Defend,” representing the unified efforts of the Army to defend the United States.

 

The United States Marine Corps

The history of the United States Marine Corps can be dated back to the institution of the Continental Marines on November 10, 1775. However, President John Adams signed a congressional act in 1798 that officially instituted the United States Marine Corps. The Marines serve as amphibious operations, fighting on land, sea, and air. “Semper Fidelis,” which means “Always Faithful,” is the driving motto of the U.S. Marine Corps, and you may also hear Marines shouting “ooh-rah” as an expression of enthusiasm. Their mascot is an English Bulldog, which was inspired by the Germans in World War I calling the Marines “teufel-hunden” which means “Devil-Dogs.” Every Marine can recite from memory the three stanzas of their official song, “The Marines Hymn.”

 

The United States Navy

Beginning on October 13, 1775, the United States Navy has defended our seas throughout America’s history utilizing ships, aircraft carriers, submarines, cruise missiles, and much more. Goats have long been associated with the Navy, as livestock were instrumental in keeping sailors fed while at sea. However, a goat debuted as a mascot for the midshipmen during a rival Army-Navy football game in 1893. The unofficial motto for the U.S. Navy is “Non sibi sed patriae” translating to “Not for Self, But Country.” Their song has gone through some revisions over time, but “Anchors Aweigh” includes a reference to Davy Jones and a well-wish for a “happy voyage home.”

 

The United States Air Force

Due to the fact that manned flight did not begin until the early 1900s, the United States Air Force is a more recent establishment in our nation’s history. Even though the Army began testing aircraft shortly after the infamous flight of the Wright brothers, the Department of the Air Force was not officially created until the National Security Act of 1947. The United States Air Force Academy adopted a falcon as their mascot because these large birds exhibit characteristics indicative of the Air Force such as speed, courage, and graceful flight. With a history defending both air and space, the U.S. Air Force now includes cyber security. They are inspired by their motto of “Aim High … Fly-Fight-Win” as well as their song “The Air Force Song” (known by some as “Wild Blue Yonder”).

 

The United States Coast Guard

Unique in its coexistence as federal law enforcement and a military force, the United States Coast Guard’s history began on August 4, 1790, with President Washington’s signing of the Tariff Act. The Coast Guard received its present name when the Revenue Cutter Service and U.S. Life-Saving Service were merged through an act of Congress in 1915. “Semper Paratus” is both their motto and song, which means “Always Ready.” A bear named Objee is the mascot for the United States Coast Guard Academy, after one of the Coast Guard’s most famous ships.


If you or someone in your family is a member of the United States Armed Forces, we thank you for your service. Many military families find that online learning is a good solution for their lifestyle. If you are interested in finding out more about online learning options for your family, please visit k12.com to find a virtual school in your area.

Related Topics

Interested in learning more about k12's online schools and courses?