Active duty

Active duty is a full-time occupation as part of a military force, as opposed to reserve duty. In the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations the equivalent term is active service.


The Indian Armed Forces are considered to be one of the largest active service forces in the world, with almost 1.42 million Active Standing Army. An additional 2.20 million reserve forces can be activated in a few weeks as per the situation under the order of the President of India who is the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces of India. This does not include the additional 1.40 million troops of the Paramilitary who too are an active force whose full-time responsibility is to guard the sovereignty of the nation from internal and external threats.


In the Israel Defense Forces, there are two types of active duty: regular service (Hebrew: שרות סדיר‎, Sherut Sadir), and active reserve duty (Hebrew: שרות מילואים פעילSherut Milu'im Pa'il, abbr. Shamap). Regular service refers to either mandatory service (Hebrew: שרות חובה‎, Sherut Hova), according to the laws of Israel, or standing army service (Hebrew: שרות קבע‎, Sherut Keva), which consists of paid NCOs and officers.

Active reserve service refers to the actual time in which reservists are called up. This varies from once every few years to a month every year. During active reserve duty, military law can be applied to reservists, similarly to regular soldiers.


The Pakistan Armed Forces are one of the largest active service forces in the world, with almost 617,000 full-time personnel, due to the complex and volatile nature of Pakistan's relationship with India and the Kashmir region, and its porous border with Afghanistan. An additional 513,000 part-time reservists (including armed civilians of FATA) can be activated in a few weeks as per the situation under the order of the President of Pakistan who is the Commander and Chief of the Armed Forces of Pakistan. This does not include the additional 427,627 troops of the Paramilitary who too are an active force whose full-time responsibility is to guard the sovereignty of the nation from internal and external threats.

United States

In the United States military, active duty refers to military members who are currently serving on full-time status in their military capacity. Full-time status is not limited to members of the active components of the military services; members of any of the three components (active, reserve, and the National Guard) may be placed into active status. All personnel in the active components are in active status. Reservists may be placed into active status as units or individuals. Units may be mobilized in support of operations, such as the reserve units that have been deployed in support of the Global War on Terror or those called up within the United States to provide support to civil authorities. Individuals may be placed in active status as part of the Active Guard Reserve program, as augmentees to active or reserve component units, or to attend full-time military training.

Air Force Longevity Service Award

The Air Force Longevity Service Award is a military award of the United States Air Force established by Air Force General Order 60, on 25 November 1957 by General Thomas D. White, Air Force Chief of Staff. The award was primarily created as an air force equivalent to the service stripes used by other branches of the United States military to denote years of military service. The award is retroactive to the establishment of the U.S. Air Force as an independent service in September 1947. The ribbon is also retroactive for any service with the U.S. Army Air Forces, U.S. Army Air Corps, or U.S. Army Air Service prior to the creation of the U.S. Air Force as a separate service as long as the serviceman was on active duty on or after 18 September 1947.

Air Force Reserve Command

The Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) is a Major Command (MAJCOM) of the United States Air Force, with its headquarters at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. It is the federal Air Reserve Component (ARC) of the U.S. Air Force, consisting of commissioned officers and enlisted airmen.

AFRC supports the Air Force mission to defend the United States through the control and exploitation of air and space by supporting Global Engagement. AFRC also plays an integral role in the day-to-day Air Force mission and is not strictly a force held in reserve for possible war or contingency operations.

Air National Guard

The Air National Guard (ANG), also known as the Air Guard, is a federal military reserve force as well as the militia air force of each U.S. state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It, along with each state's, district's, commonwealth's or territory's Army National Guard component, makes up the National Guard of each state and the districts, commonwealths and territories as applicable.

When Air National Guard units are used under the jurisdiction of the state governor they are fulfilling their militia role. However, if federalized by order of the President of the United States, ANG units become an active part of the United States Air Force. They are jointly administered by the states and the National Guard Bureau, a joint bureau of the Army and Air Force that oversees the United States National Guard.

Air National Guard units are organized and federally recognized federal military reserve forces in each of the fifty U.S. states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia of the United States. Each state, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has a minimum of one ANG flying unit with either assigned aircraft or aircraft shared with a unit of the active duty Air Force or the Air Force Reserve under an "Associate" arrangement. The ANG of the territories of Guam and the Virgin Islands have no aircraft assigned and perform ground support functions. Air National Guard activities may be located on active duty air force bases, air reserve bases, naval air stations/joint reserve bases, or air national guard bases and stations which are either independent military facilities or collocated as tenants on civilian-controlled joint civil-military airports.

ANG units typically operate under Title 32 USC. However, when operating under Title 10 USC all ANG units are operationally gained by an active duty USAF major command (MAJCOM). ANG units of the Combat Air Forces (CAF) based in the Continental United States (CONUS), plus a single air control squadron of the Puerto Rico ANG, are gained by the Air Combat Command (ACC). CONUS-based ANG units in the Mobility Air Forces (MAF), plus the Puerto Rico ANG's airlift wing and the Virgin Islands ANG's civil engineering squadron are gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC).

The vast majority of ANG units fall under either ACC or AMC. However, there remain a few exceptions, such as the Alaska ANG, Hawaii ANG and Guam ANG, whose CAF and MAF units are operationally gained by Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), while a smaller number of ANG units in CONUS are operationally gained by Air Education and Training Command (AETC), Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Force Space Command (AFSPC), and United States Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa (USAFE-AFAFRICA).

American Defense Service Medal

The American Defense Service Medal was a military award of the United States Armed Forces, established by Executive Order 8808, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, on June 28, 1941. The medal was intended to recognize those military service members who had served on active duty between September 8, 1939 and December 7, 1941.

A similar medal, known as the American Campaign Medal, was established in 1942, for service in the American Theater during the World War II era.

G.I. Bill

The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, also known as the G.I. Bill, was a law that provided a range of benefits for returning World War II veterans (commonly referred to as G.I.s). It was designed by the American Legion, who helped to push it through Congress by mobilizing its chapters (along with the Veterans of Foreign Wars); the goal was to provide immediate rewards for practically all World War II veterans.

The act avoided the highly disputed postponed life insurance policy payout for World War I veterans that caused political turmoil for a decade and a half after that war. Benefits included dedicated payments of tuition and living expenses to attend high school, college or vocational/technical school, low-cost mortgages, low-interest loans to start a business, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. It was available to all veterans who had been on active duty during the war years for at least 90 days and had not been dishonorably discharged—exposure to combat was not required. The recipients did not pay any income tax on the G.I. benefits, since they were not considered earned income.By 1956, roughly 7.8 million veterans had used the G.I. Bill education benefits, some 2.2 million to attend colleges or universities and an additional 5.6 million for some kind of training program.Historians and economists judge the G.I. Bill a major political and economic success—especially in contrast to the treatments of World War I veterans—and a major contribution to America's stock of human capital that encouraged long-term economic growth.Canada operated a similar program for its World War II veterans, with a similarly beneficial economic impact. Since the original U.S. 1944 law, the term has come to include other benefit programs created to assist veterans of subsequent wars as well as peacetime service.

During the 1940s, "fly-by-night" for-profit colleges sprang up to collect veterans' education grants, because the program provided limited oversight.Today, for-profit colleges and their lead generators have taken advantage of the post-9/11 G.I. Bill to target veterans for subpar products and services. According to CBS News, about 40 percent of all G.I. Bill education funds go to for-profit colleges.The Department of Veterans Affairs has a G.I. Bill feedback form for recipients to address their complaints against colleges. In 2012, President Barack Obama also signed Executive Order 13607, which was to ensure that predatory colleges did not aggressively recruit military service members, veterans, and their families. In 2017, President Donald Trump signed the Forever GI Bill extending the allowable time period for veterans to pursue educational opportunities.

General (United States)

In the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, and United States Air Force, general (abbreviated as GEN in the Army or Gen in the Air Force and Marine Corps) is a four-star general officer rank, with the pay grade of O-10. General ranks above lieutenant general and below General of the Army or General of the Air Force; the Marine Corps does not have an established grade above general. General is equivalent to the rank of admiral in the other uniformed services. Since the grades of General of the Army and General of the Air Force are reserved for wartime use only, and since the Marine Corps has no five-star equivalent, the grade of general is currently considered to be the highest appointment an officer can achieve in these three services.

Global War on Terrorism Service Medal

The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (GWOT-SM) is a military award of the United States Armed Forces which was created through Executive Order 13289 on 12 March 2003, by President George W. Bush. The medal recognizes those military service members who have supported operations to counter terrorism in the War on Terror from 11 September 2001, to a date yet to be determined.

List of United States Marine Corps four-star generals

This is a complete list of four-star generals in the United States Marine Corps. The rank of general (or full general, or four-star general) is the highest rank in the Marine Corps. It ranks above lieutenant general (three-star general).

There have been 71 four-star generals in the history of the United States Marine Corps. Of these, 53 achieved that rank while on active duty, 17 were promoted upon retirement in recognition of combat citations ("tombstone promotions", 1942-1959), and one was promoted posthumously. Generals entered the Marine Corps via several paths: 29 via Officer Candidates School (OCS), 23 via Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) at a civilian university, 10 via the United States Naval Academy (USNA), 3 via Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at a civilian university, and 6 via ROTC at a senior military college.

List of active duty United States four-star officers

"List of United States four-star officers" redirects here. For a complete historical list of U.S. four-star officers by service, see Army generals, Marine Corps generals, Navy admirals, Air Force generals, Coast Guard admirals, or Public Health Service admirals.There are currently 41 active-duty four-star officers in the uniformed services of the United States: 14 in the Army, 4 in the Marine Corps, 8 in the Navy, 12 in the Air Force, 2 in the Coast Guard, and 1 in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Of the seven federal uniformed services, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps is the only service that does not have an established four-star position.

National Defense Service Medal

The National Defense Service Medal (NDSM) is a service medal of the United States Armed Forces established by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953.

Reserve Good Conduct Medal

A Reserve Good Conduct Medal refers to any one of the five military conduct awards, four of which are currently issued and one of which was previously issued, by the United States Armed Forces to enlisted members of the Reserve and National Guard. The primary difference between the regular Good Conduct Medal and the Reserve Good Conduct Medal is that the regular Good Conduct Medal is only issued for active duty service while the reserve equivalent is bestowed for reserve duties such as drills, annual training, and additional active duty for either training or operational support to the active duty force or, in the case of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard, in support of Title 32 U.S.C. state active duty (SAD) such as disaster response and relief.

To receive a Reserve Good Conduct Medal, a service member (excluding Army Reservists), must, generally, be an active member of the Reserve or National Guard and must have performed three to four years of satisfactory duty (to include drills and annual training) with such service being free of disciplinary action. Periods of active duty in the Active Component prior to joining the Reserve Component, full time active duty in an Active Guard and Reserve, Training and Administration of the Reserve (TAR), Full Time Support (FTS), or active duty recall or mobilization in excess of three years are not typically creditable towards a Reserve Good Conduct Medal, although such periods are typically creditable for the active duty equivalent Good Conduct Medal. Each service has specific varying requirements.

Reserve components of the United States Armed Forces

The reserve components of the United States Armed Forces are military organizations whose members generally perform a minimum of 39 days of military duty per year and who augment the active duty (or full-time) military when necessary. The reserve components are also referred to collectively as the National Guard and Reserve.

According to 10 U.S.C. § 10102, the purpose of each reserve component is to provide trained units and qualified persons available for active duty in the armed forces, in time of war or national emergency, and at such other times as the national security may require, to fill the needs of the armed forces whenever, during and after the period needed to procure and train additional units and qualified persons to achieve the planned mobilization, more units and persons are needed than are in the regular components.


STA-21 or Seaman to Admiral - 21 is the U.S. Navy's commissioning program for the 21st century and is designed to enable active-duty sailors to get a college degree and become commissioned officers.

Separation (United States military)

In the U.S. armed forces, separation means that a person is leaving active duty, but not necessarily leaving the service entirely. Separation typically occurs when someone reaches the date of their Expiration of Term of Service (ETS) and are released from active duty, but still must complete their military reserve obligations. Upon separation, they receive form DD214, which indicates their former and future status.

When a person completes their full military obligation, they are discharged and receive a formal certificate of discharge, usually an Honorable Discharge.

Uniform Code of Military Justice

The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ, 64 Stat. 109, 10 U.S.C. §§ 801–946) is the foundation of military law in the United States. It was established by the United States Congress in accordance with the authority given by the United States Constitution in Article I, Section 8, which provides that "The Congress shall have Power....To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval forces".

United States Air Force Band

The United States Air Force Band is a U.S. military band consisting of 177 active-duty members of the United States Air Force.

It is the Air Force's premier musical organization and is based at Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.. Within the band there are six performing ensembles:

The Concert Band,

Singing Sergeants,

Airmen of Note,

Air Force Strings,

Ceremonial Brass,

Max Impact.Collectively, these musical groups perform a wide spectrum of styles, including classical, jazz, popular, patriotic and ceremonial music.

The mission of the Band is to deliver musical products that inspire emotions, create positive impressions and communicate information according to Air Force objectives for the defense of the United States of America.

The Band is part of the United States Air Force Bands Program, which consists of 10 active-duty stateside bands 4 overseas active-duty band locations and 11 Air National Guard bands.

United States Marine Corps Reserve

The Marine Forces Reserve (MARFORRES or MFR), also known as the United States Marine Corps Reserve (USMCR) and the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve, is the reserve force of the United States Marine Corps. It is the largest command in the U.S. Marine Corps. Marines in the Reserve go through the same training and work in the same Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) as their active-duty counterparts.Marine Forces Reserve is the headquarters command for approximately 40,000 Reserve Marines and 184 Reserve Training Centers located throughout the United States. The mission of Marine Forces Reserve is to augment and reinforce active Marine forces in time of war, national emergency, or contingency operations; to provide personnel and operational tempo relief for the active forces in peacetime; and to provide service to the community (for example, through Toys for Tots).

The United States Marine Corps Reserve was established when Congress passed the Naval Appropriations Act of 29 August 1916 and is responsible for providing trained units and qualified individuals to be mobilized for active duty in time of war, national emergency or contingency operations. Marine forces Reserve also provides personnel and operational tempo relief for active component forces in peacetime.

MARFORRES comprises two groups of Marines and Sailors. The first, known as the Selected Marine Corps Reserve (SMCR), are Marines who belong to reserve units and drill one weekend a month and two weeks a year. The second group is known as the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR). The IRR is composed of Marines who have finished their active duty or USMCR obligations, however their names remain on record to be called up in case of a war or other emergency – the Individual Ready Reserve is administered by the Marine Corps Individual Reserve Support Activity. IRR Marines participate in annual musters to check in with the Corps.

United States Navy Reserve

The United States Navy Reserve (USNR), known as the United States Naval Reserve from 1915 to 2005, is the Reserve Component (RC) of the United States Navy. Members of the Navy Reserve, called reservists, are enrolled in the Selected Reserve (SELRES), the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR), the Full Time Support (FTS), or the Retired Reserve program.

United States Navy officer rank insignia

In the United States Navy, officers have various ranks. Equivalency between services is by pay grade. United States Navy commissioned officer ranks have two distinct sets of rank insignia: On dress uniform a series of stripes similar to Commonwealth naval ranks are worn; on service khaki, working uniforms (Navy Working Uniform [NWU], and coveralls), and special uniform situations (combat utilities, flight suits, and USMC uniforms when worn by Navy officers assigned or attached to USMC units), the rank insignia are similar to the equivalent rank in the US Army or US Air Force.

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