Military Personnel and Organizations

The story of America is about the countless men and women who give up their own comfort, the company of their loved ones, and sometimes their lives, in service to our nation. From the Revolutionary War to the worldwide fight against ISIS, in times of both war and peace, military personnel endure hardship so Americans can enjoy peace and freedom. Yet, because these men and women often serve in anonymity, their stories of sacrifice and dedication to duty can be lost forever. By creating and sharing a permanent record of their service, current and future generations gain insights and inspiration.

The Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard are the armed forces of the United States. The Army National Guard and the Air National Guard are reserve components of their services and operate in part under state authority. From its inception during the American Revolutionary War, the U.S. Armed Forces have played a decisive role in the history of the U.S. It helped forge a sense of national unity and identity through its victories in the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War. It played a critical role in the American Civil War, keeping the Confederacy from seceding from the republic. The National Security Act of 1947, adopted following World War II, created the modern U.S. military framework. The Act established the National Military Establishment, headed by the secretary of defense; and created the U.S. Air Force and the National Security Council. It was amended in 1949, renaming the National Military Establishment the Department of Defense, and merged the cabinet-level Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force, into the Department of Defense.

The U.S. Space Force (USSF) is a new branch of the Armed Forces. It was established on December 20, 2019 within the Department of the Air Force, meaning the Secretary of the Air Force has overall responsibility for the USSF, under the guidance and direction of the Secretary of Defense.

Legacy Stories from the Americans All Heritage Honor Roll

We are pleased to host and share these legacy stories created by honorees’ family, friends and associates. They, like us, appreciate that heritage and culture are an integral part of our nation's social fabric and want to help students participate effectively in our nation's economy, workforce and democracy.

Language
State
Last Name of Individual
First Name of Individual
Group name

Civil War: Fifty-Fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, 54th Massachusetts (March 13, 1863 - August 4, 1865) Carney, Glory, Hallowell, Medal of Honor, Military, Shaw, Fort Wagner

On January 26, 1863, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton authorized Massachusetts Governor John Albion. Andrew to create volunteer companies of artillery "for duty in the forts of Massachusetts and elsewhere, and such corps of infantry for the volunteer military service as he may find convenient.

Lucian Adams Texas (October 26, 1922 - March 31, 2003) Medal of Honor Recipient, World War II, Veteran, Hispanic

Lucian Adams, Medal of Honor recipient and son of Lucian Adams, Sr., and Rosa (Ramírez) Adams, was born in Port Arthur, Texas, on October 26, 1922. The Adams family consisted of nine brothers and three sisters. Eight of his brothers served in World War II, and all returned home safe after the war. Lucian attended schools in Port Arthur . . . but dropped out of high school to help support his family.

Commodore John Barry Pennsylvania (March 25, 1745 - September 12, 1803) Irish, Ireland, U.S. Navy First Flag Officer, Politician, Continental Congress

September 13th is Commodore John Barry Day. It is not a new commemorative day, for it has been commemorated on the American national calendar more than once. There were even statues erected in his honor back in the days when Americans remembered with gratitude the contributions of this dedicated man. Today, how many remember his deeds? 

Brendan Fitzgerald Maryland (March 16, 1967 - ?) Management and Program Analyst, Veteran, Service Dog, PTSD

Marine Corps veteran Brendan Fitzgerald and his dog Russell offer hope and courage to veterans, their families, and others struggling to overcome trauma. Russell became the first service dog to “report for duty” at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Sam Houston Texas (March 2, 1793 - July 26, 1863) Irish, Ireland, Catholic, Houston, Veteran, Politician

Sam Houston was born on March 2, 1793, the fifth child of Samuel and Elizabeth (Paxton) Houston, Rockbridge County, Virginia. He was of Scots-Irish ancestry and reared Presbyterian. His father died when he was thirteen, and in the spring of 1807, he emigrated with his mother, five brothers, and three sisters to Blount County in Eastern Tennessee, establishing a farm near Maryville.

Honorable John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy Massachusetts (May 29, 1917 - November 22, 1963) Irish, Catholic, Ireland, Politician, Author, War Hero, President of the U.S.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was named in honor of his mother Rose’s father, John Francis Fitzgerald, the Boston Mayor popularly known as Honey Fitz. Before long, family and friends called this small blue-eyed baby, Jack. He was not a very healthy baby, and Rose recorded on his notecard [which she kept for each child] the childhood diseases from which he suffered, such as: "whooping cough, measles, chicken pox."

Robert S. McNamara District of Columbia (June 9, 1916 - July 6, 2009) Irish, Ireland, Businessman, U.S. Secretary of Defense

Defense issues, including the missile gap, played a prominent role in the campaign of 1960. President-elect John F. Kennedy, very much concerned with defense matters although lacking former President Dwight D. Eisenhower's mastery of the issues, first offered the post of secretary of defense to former secretary Robert A. Lovett. When Lovett declined, Kennedy chose Robert S. McNamara on Lovett's recommendation.

Lt. Gen. Harold Gregory "Hal" Moore Colorado (February 13, 1922 - February 10, 2017) Veteran, Vietnam War, Author

Born in Bardstown, Kentucky, Lt. Gen. Harold Gregory “Hal” Moore moved to Washington, DC, where he completed his high school education. He attended The George Washington University (GWU) for two years before receiving his appointment to the United States Military Academy.

Honorable Richard Edmund "Richie" Neal Massachusetts (February 14, 1949 - ?) Irish, Ireland, Catholic, AOH, Politician, US Congressman

On November 7, 1960, Mary Garvey Neal, who had roots in Ventry, County Kerry [Ireland], took her son to the Springfield, Massachusetts, town hall. It was very late and Richie Neal, then 10 years old, would never forget that evening. He was there to witness one of the last campaign stops of Senator Jack Kennedy during the final frenetic days of the race against Richard Nixon for the presidency. He vividly . . . 

Admiral Chester William Nimitz Sr. Texas (February 24, 1885 - February 20, 1966) German, Veteran, Navy Fleet Admiral, Fredericksburg

Chester William Nimitz, who guided Allied forces to victory in the Pacific in World War II, was born in Fredericksburg, Texas, on February 24, 1885, the son of Chester Bernard and Anna (Henke) Nimitz. His father died before he was born. During his early years his grandfather Charles H. Nimitz, a German immigrant, former seaman and owner of the Nimitz Hotel, served as the father figure whom Nimitz credited with shaping his character and values.

Zebulon Montgomery Pike New Jersey (January 5, 1779 - April 27, 1813) Army Veteran, Western Explorer

Zebulon Montgomery Pike, United States Army officer and Western explorer, was born on January 5, 1779, at Lamberton, now a part of Trenton, New Jersey, the son of Isabella (Brown) and Zebulon Pike, a veteran of the American Revolution and a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army. After receiving some education in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, young Pike entered his father's regiment, the Third United States Infantry, as a cadet.

Honorable Ronald Wilson Reagan: Life Before Politics California (February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004) Irish Catholic, Ireland, Scotland, Veteran, Actor, Politician, Governor of California, President of the U.S.

On February 6, 1911, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in Tampico, Illinois in a five-room apartment on the main street. Like most homes in town, it did not have running water or an indoor toilet. In addition to the main street, the town had a population of 820, a railroad station, two or three churches and a couple of stores.

Honorable Ronald Wilson Reagan: Political Career California (February 6, 1911 - June 5, 2004) Irish Catholic, Ireland, Scotland, Veteran, Actor, Politician, Governor of California, President of the U.S.

As a result of his travels on behalf of General Electric (who had hired him as a home office goodwill ambassador), he became convinced that big business was not the problem in the economy, it was big government. As a result, more Republican groups began to extend him speaking invitations. In the fall of 1962, he officially joined the Republican party. In 1964, he acted in his final film, playing a villain for the first and only time in “The Killers.”

Jack Roosevelt "Jackie" Robinson New York (January 31, 1919 - October 24, 1972) African-American, Baseball Player, Baseball Hall of Fame, Businessman, Color Line

“A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” This, more than his on-the-field statistics, can be viewed as his enduring legacy. He was born in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of sharecroppers, the youngest of five children, and his mother moved the family to Pasadena, California, the following year. He grew up in relative poverty and the prejudice the family encountered . . .

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo California (c.1808 - January 18, 1890) Hispanic, Mexican-American, Veteran, Politician, Rancher

Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo (c.1808–January 18, 1890) was a leader in the struggle for statehood for California. During his lifetime, he witnessed three nations rule California. Born to a wealthy family in Monterey, California, the eighth of 13 children, he entered military service at age 16.