As the senior military branch of the United States Armed Forces, the Army’s roots reach all the way back to the Continental Army, first established on 14 June, 1775.  The Army as we now know it, however, was born on 3 June, 1784, when the Congress of the Confederation (America’s Congress prior to the establishment of the Constitution) formed the new United States Army as a replacement for its disbanded predecessor.

Although the U.S. Army’s primary role is defined as land-based military operations, it has grown to envelope nearly all facets of the war fighting endeavor.  In 2017, the Army maintained ongoing combat operations in multiple theaters, responded to natural disasters, and shifted training strategies to prepare for the possibility of peer and near-peer level warfare with national militaries.

Here are the five best pictures they took along the way:

#5 – A Wall of Fire

A U.S. Army AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopter, assigned to the 1-151st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, flies in front of a wall of fire during the South Carolina National Guard Air and Ground Expo at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, May 6, 2017. This expo is a combined arms demonstration showcasing the abilities of South Carolina National Guard Airmen and Soldiers while saying thank you for the support of fellow South Carolinians and the surrounding community. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Jorge Intriago)

#4 – Paratroopers in Alaska

501st Parachute Infantry Regiment leaders observe as their follow-on paratroopers exit a U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster to join in the fight during Joint Forcible Entry Operation exercise at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, May 3, 2017. Hundreds of paratroopers jumped from U.S. and Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft in conjunction with the biennial U.S. Air Force Alaska Command exercise Northern Edge in preparation for upcoming training at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Love)

#3 – Basic Demolition

Engineer Soldiers with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, conducted engineer training qualification tables as part of the Saber Strike 17, where they performed basic demolition at the Bemowo Piskie Training Area in Bemowo Piskie, Poland, June 8, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Justin Geiger)

#2 – Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa

Soldiers assigned to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa’s East African Response Force, fire M240 weapons systems and practice bounding movements, Nov. 1, 2017, in Djibouti, Africa. The purpose of the EARF is to rapidly provide tailorable packages of force to protect American interests on the continent of Africa should any threats arise. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erin Piazza)

#1 – Allied Spirit