Posted by: Jacqui Murray | February 22, 2011

10 Bits of Military Trivia

These ten fascinating bits come from It’s just the type of information you want to know if you’re a true military buff:

old military

Military long ago

  1. Armored knights would raise their visors to identify themselves when they rode past royalty. This custom has evolved into the modern military salute.
  2. Robert E. Lee, of the Confederate Army, remains the only person, to date, to have graduated from the West Point military academy without a single demerit.
  3. When WWII broke out in September 1939, every able young German man 19 years of age or older, was drafted into the army. Non-compliants were taken to court and sentenced to imprisonment.
  4. Statistically it took 8 torpedoes to sink a ship in 1942, 11.7 in 1943, 10 in 1944.
  5. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which Key wrote in 1815, did not become the National Anthem until 1931.
  6. The Marine Corps adopted Semper Fidelis as its official motto in 1883 (Semper Fidelis is also the title of the official musical March of the Marine Corps). Translated from Latin, Semper Fidelis means “Always Faithful.” U.S. Marines use an abbreviated verbal version, “Semper Fi,” to voice loyalty and commitment to their Marine comrades-in-arms.
    Previous mottoes of the Marine Corps were:  

    • “To the Shores of Tripoli,” adopted in 1805.
    • “Fortitude,” adopted in 1812.
    • “From the Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Tripoli,” adopted in 1848.
    • “By Sea and by Land,” adopted in the 1850’s.
  7. The youngest US serviceman was 12 year old Calvin Graham, USN. He was wounded and given a Dishonorable Discharge for lying about his age. His benefits were later restored by act of Congress.
  8. Soldiers arrived to fight the Battle of Marne in World War I – not on foot or by military airplane or military vehicle – but by taxi cabs. France took over all the taxi cabs in Paris to get soldiers to the front.
  9. The oldest weapon still in use in the American military arsenal is the Mameluke hilt sword carried by officers in the U.S. Marine Corps. The sword dates back to the Barbary Pirate Wars of 1801-1807. The sword was given to Lt. Presly O’Banen by the ruler of Tripoli for the aid rendered by the Marines in the Mediterranean Fleet.
  10. The first tank was developed by the British in World War I as a solution to the trench warfare stalemate. The first prototype of the Mark I tank was tested for the British Army on September 6, 1915. To preserve secrecy the initial vehicles were referred to as “Water-carriers”. The workers were given the impression that they were building “Water-carriers for Mesopotamia”; hence the name, Tank.



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