Editor's note: Article from Defense.gov June 30:
WASHINGTON - Fifty years ago, the United States military began to fill its ranks solely with brave Americans who freely choose to defend our republic. Ever since the draft ended on July 1, 1973, Americans have joined our military out of conviction, not compulsion. Over the years, the members of our All-Volunteer Force have been motivated by patriotism, pride, and principle—by the desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves, and by their love for our exceptional nation.
Moving to an All-Volunteer Force was a bold step: No other military with such formidable capabilities had operated on a voluntary basis. But history has proven the wisdom of relying on our All-Volunteer Force, and the combination of moral and military power that it has brought has strengthened our armed forces. Over the past five decades, our military has recruited and retained patriotic and talented personnel from all walks of American life, resulting in a more professional and effective Joint Force. Today, America's All-Volunteer Force is the strongest military in human history, and it sets the global standard for military professionalism.
As Americans build their lives around a free commitment to military service, they grow into leaders. They hone their skills as soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and guardians but also as doctors, mechanics, teachers, and computer technicians. And they pass on their knowledge to future generations of Service members. The All-Volunteer Force shows us how much Americans can do when we commit ourselves to serve others, give back to our communities, and make our country more secure and more just.
The United States has a sacred obligation to take care of every patriot who has ever worn the cloth of our nation, as well as their families. We reaffirm that commitment as we proudly salute each American who selflessly raises their hand to serve our country and defend our republic. Today and every day, the service of the members of our All-Volunteer Force is a testament to their courage—and to the power of our democracy.
Editor's note: From Defense.gov June 30: