Happy 247th birthday to the United States Army. Hooah!

The U.S. Army was founded June 14, 1775, when the Continental Congress authorized enlistment of expert riflemen to serve the United Colonies for one year.

America’s Revolutionary War had begun two months before, on April 19, 1775, with exchanges of musket fire between British regulars and Massachusetts militiamen at Lexington and Concord.

When the delegates to the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia on May 10, they learned that armed men commanded by Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold had captured the British forts at Ticonderoga and Crown Point on Lake Champlain in New York, notes the U.S. Army Center of Military History.

The Congress took the next step, transforming a local rebellion in New England into a war for independence when it established the Continental Army — the force we know today as the U.S. Army.

On June 14, 1775, Congress “Resolved, That six companies of expert riflemen, be immediately raised in Pennsylvania, two in Maryland, and two in Virginia … [and] as soon as completed, shall march and join the army near Boston, to be there employed as light infantry, under the command of the chief Officer in that army.”

The delegates then prescribed an oath of enlistment that required the soldiers to swear:

“I have, this day, voluntarily enlisted myself, as a soldier, in the American continental army, for one year, unless sooner discharged: And I do bind myself to conform, in all instances, to such rules and regulations, as are, or shall be, established for the government of the said. Army.”

So, happy birthday U.S. Army, and thank you to all soldiers, past and present, who have answered the call to defend America’s freedom.