Tag: General History

Today’s Top Ten Armies (Military Powers) in the World

This list of Top Ten Armies (Military Powers) in the world is subjective at best.  Unless you looked at specific aspects and judged based on that criteria alone, the list cannot be definitive.  One can look at a nation’s defense budget or the size of their enlisted members, or combine the two.  Another area for consideration is the amount of armor a nation has inventoried including tanks, helicopters, aircraft and ships.  This top ten took in a little of all of that, but it is still one perspective looking at the Armies around the world.  Input and educational pieces on other armies not listed here, or any additional information that may have been omitted, are welcomed.

Before listing the top ten, one country fell just short of making the list, but certainly deserves to be mentioned – North Korea.  They not only have one of the largest Special Forces in the world – 120,000 members – they have a very large inventory of armor.

10.  Pakistan

Pakistan is known for their good upper leadership.  Founded in 1947, their three branches of service totals more than 600,000 people – all volunteers.  They have close Pakistan Aircraftties to the militaries of the US and China.  Pakistan’s budget of over $5 billion is smaller than all the other top ten militaries, but it does exceed the overall defense budget of a number of other countries around the world.  While Pakistan has about the same number of naval craft as the United Kingdom (see below), they have more aircraft and helicopters and an incredible total of 9,000 tanks and armored vehicles.  They have assisted the United States in their War on Terrorism by fighting the Taliban and the Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and along their own borders.

9.  United Kingdom  

British Forces include three branches of service, – the navy, the army and the air force. Below are some figures for the United Kingdom – the figures presented could vary slightly:

  • British HelicopterActive Military (including army, navy and air force) – 197,700
  • Reserve – 212,000
  • Paramilitary – 152,000
  • Aircraft and Helicopters – 1,800
  • Tanks and Armored Vehicles – 5,500

Despite having one of the smallest numbers of active military, the militaries of the United Kingdom are a sustainable force and their SAS is among the world’s top Special Forces.  Britain is a steadfast ally of the U.S.

8.  Iran

Iran militaryIran has one of the best small forces in the world.  Half of this countries government’s income goes towards defense.  Their modern day military was first founded in 1923 and currently boasts over 500,000 active members.  In addition, its defense budget of $10 billion has allowed more aircraft than the US and UK combined and almost the same amount of aircraft and helicopters as China, a country with a much larger force and budget.

7.  Turkey

Turkey militaryTurkey’s Army dates back over 2,000 years.  Their modern day militaries were not established though until 1920.  Turkey has over 600,000 members in its military forces and its budget is close to $19 billion.  This country comes in fourth for the total number of tanks and armored vehicles – 11,000 plus.  All Turkish males – once they reach 20 years of age – are required to serve in the military.  There are very few exceptions to this requirement.

6.  Germany 

Germany's Leopard IIMuch of Germany’s notable military history began with the rise of Hitler.  They were responsible for the start of WWII when they invaded Poland.  When the war was over, the country divided and the West German Army was formed.  It wasn’t until the 1990s the country reunited.  Currently, Germany has more than 200,000 active military members who are well-trained and well-equipped.  Germany boasts of one of the best tanks in the world – the Leopard II.

5.  France

France's MilitaryFrance’s military does not have the reputation as a super power, but its numbers would say differently.  Their military totals over 360,000 members spread throughout their navy, air force and paramilitary branches.  All three branches are very well rounded, but many feel their navy is bar far their strongest branch.  France’s defense budget comes in just over $58 billion.  Despite this impressive budget, it still has the smallest number of aircraft and helicopters than any other country on this list.

4.  India

India has a more advanced Air Force and very-well trained Special Forces.  They have four branches of military and also additional paramilitary units.  Their active military India's militaryhas more than 1.3 million members.  India has an additional 2.1 million in reserves and their paramilitary has 1.3 million members.  In all, India has more than 4.7 million total members.

Despite their large number of service members, India’s aircraft and helicopter and tank and armored vehicle totals put them only in the center of the list of countries listed here and they do have the smallest naval craft fleet.  Some estimates of nuclear warheads in India’s possession go as high as 80.


3.  Russia

This former superpower still has a large amount of equipment in its military inventory.  They have well over 1.2 million active military members and an additional 750,000 in Russian Militarythe reserve.  Their paramilitary total comes in at around 5,000.  The total military budget for Russia is in excess of $64 billion.  Only two countries have a higher military budget than Russia – the United States and China.

The current known Russian force was first founded in 1992, but Russia’s military history dates back to as early as 863.  Between the ages of 18 and 27, all male Russians are drafted into the country’s service for a period of 12 months.  A few exceptions, such as being a student or the parent of two or more children, serve as exemptions to this otherwise steadfast rule.

Russia is known to have the largest number of nuclear warheads on hand, but most of them are not active.

2.  China

Founded in 1927, the People’s Liberation Army of China has more than 2.3 million China's militaryactive service members in its military making it the largest active force in the world. With a reserve of 800,00 and a paramilitary of 1.5 million, in all, China has more than 4.5 million military members.   China’s defense budget of $129 billion is continually increasing each year by an average of 12 to 15%.  This total makes it the second largest defense budget in the world – second only to the United States.  China is believed to house as many as 240 nuclear warheads.

1.  United States

The US military has history dating back to 1775 when it first formed forces (Continental Army) to fight in the Revolutionary War.  The US Army has been involved in every major world war as well as the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War and the Global War on Terrorism.

United States militaryThe defense budget for the United States is more than the combined totals of the previous nine countries coming in at over $689 billion.  The US has just over 1.4 million active military members, another 1.4 million reserve members and 11,000 in its paramilitary.  The US ranks second behind Russia in the total number of warheads, but it does have the largest number of active warheads.  The United States leads in the overall aircraft and helicopters – 21,000 – but is just barely ahead of China with its total of tanks and armored vehicles.  The United States also has an impressive 12 aircraft carriers in its fleet.

This list of today’s top ten armies (military powers) in the world, certainly sheds light on the overall power of these nations given their impressive numbers in members, equipment and budget.

Five Parts of the Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence is divided up into five parts:

  • Introduction
  • Preamble
  • Body – Section 1
  • Body – Section 2
  • Conclusion

Introduction – In the introduction of the Declaration of Independence, declares the reasons the American colonies wish to leave the British Empire.  It is further noted that their independence is not only necessary, but unavoidable.

Preamble – The preamble to the Declaration of Independence lists principles that were already known as being “self-evident” by the majority of Englishmen of the 18th Century.  It continues to state that when such a situation arises in government (as that being experienced by the British governing of the 13 colonies), it is not only their desire, but it is their right and their duty to throw off such a Government and to provide the foundation for a new government to ensure their future security.

Body – Section 1 – In this part of the Declaration of Independence, the grievances against England and King George III are listed.

 Body – Section 2 – Section two of the body of the Declaration of Independence clearly states that the colonist’s efforts to appeal some of the decisions of King George III were met in vain.

Conclusion – The conclusion of the Declaration of Independence notes that having listed the grievances, under which British North American lived, they – the United Colonies – were declaring their right to be free and independent from any and all allegiance to the British Crown.  It further stated that any political connection between the two is to be dissolved.


A great amount of courage and strength was exhibited by each member of the Continental Congress in adaptingand signing this historical document.   The thought that went into writing and editing each of the five parts of the Declaration of Independence exhibited the pride of the newly established colonies and their desire to be free.

History of the Military Salute

No definitive beginning can be traced to the history of the military salute.  Most sources speculate the roots to this time honored tradition date as far back as the Roman times when assassins were common.  It is believed the raising of the right hand was a gesture to show they were not shielding any type of weapon.  Also, knights were said to raise their visors with their right hand upon greeting a comrade or superior.

The gesture eventually evolved as a show of respect and would sometimes include removing the hat.  By 1820, the gesture was officially modified to the current version still used in the military today – the touching of the hat.  Hand salute, palm down is believed to be an influence of the British Navy, as deck hands were often dirty and to expose the dirty palm was regarded as disrespectful.

Salute Protocol

A salute is a privileged gesture which shows a sign of trust and respect among soldiers.  In the military, the subordinate always salutes first.  A soldier’s salute reflects his pride in himself, his unit and shows confidence in his ability as a soldier.  When saluting, the eyes and head should face the person (or flag) being saluted.  Military salutes are not required if the conditions are inappropriate or impractical, such as an airport, inside a public place (theater, restaurant, etc.) or when driving.

Individuals Entitled to a Salute

Protocol requires a salute to the following:

  • President of the US
  • Commissioned and Warrant Officers
  • All Medal of Honor Recipients
  • Officers of Allied Foreign Countries

A salute is always rendered for the following:

  • US National Anthem, “To the Color”, “Hail to the Chief”, or the playing of any foreign national anthem
  • When national colors are uncased outdoors
  • Ceremonial occasions,
  • Ceremonial reveille and retreat
  • Raising and lowering of the flag
  • When honors are sounded
  • Pledge of Allegiance – outdoors
  • When rendering reports
  • When turning over control of formations

Long gone are the days of the Roman soldiers and the medieval knights, but the mark they left on history regarding the military salute has continued to live on.

Take a Once in a Lifetime Ride on an Authentic WWII M8 Reconnaissance Vehicle

 It’s not just a ride, it’s an adventure!!

Get upclose and personal when you experience a ride on AFHMs WWII M8 Reconnaissance Vehicle.  This ride is unique, fun and exciting for children and adults of all ages

Check out videos from a few of our recent rides:  WWII M8 Rides

For additional information on pricing and time/date availability, please call the museum at (727)539-8371.  Rides are available during most museum hours, (with the exception of Sundays)  and reservations are encouraged in order to accommodate your visit.

What’s more fun than a day at the Armed Forces History Museum?  The answer is easy – a day at the Armed Forces History Museum AND a ride on a fully restored, World War II M8 Greyhound.  Viewing the museum is an experience in and of itself, but add a ride on this M8 armored car, and you have taken your visit to a whole new level.

While often mistaken for a tank, due to its large size turret with a 37 mm cannon, the M-8 is actually considered a 6 x 6 armored reconnaissance vehicle.  The museum’s M8 Greyhound is complete with a Browning .30 cal machine gun (de-milled of course) and other accessories used in WWII.  Your ride is sure to become the main topic of conversation as you convey this incredible experience as part of your museum visit.  A ride on this vehicle leaves a lasting impression for years to come.  Where else can a civilian go and ride on a military vehicle?

Don’t Miss Out

This is a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and is only available here at the museum.  Take the ride of your life as the M-8 takes you “off road” behind our museum.  Planning ahead will be well worth it.

May 17th – Red, White and Craft Brews Fest


Back by Popular Demand – Join the Armed Forces History Museum for their 3rd Annual Red, White and Craft Brews Fest being held at the museum on Saturday, May 17th from 5 PM to 9 PM.  More than 70 craft brews will be on hand for this event.  Cost for the event is only $25/person.

“Red, White and Craft Brewfest was excellent!  Better than Brews by the Bay”…Nicole & Ken T

Enjoyed by all last year, the evening is an adventure into the culinary world of microbrews, crafts and more.   Visitors sample an array of beers, experiencing the balance and characteristics of each.  Learn first-hand from the craftsman about their particular style and technique.  Free refreshments for everyone compliments of Florida Restaurant Purchasing Group and a souvenir cup will be given to the first 300 in attendance.  Come tour our critically-acclaimed, award-winning museum and sample craft brews from around the world.  The $25 admission also includes touring the museum.
Great event, great venue.  I look forward to this ‘Red, White and Brew’ becoming an annual or semi-annual event”…Joseph Z.

l service fee applies to all on-line orders and phone orders.)

Join our Red, White and Craft Brews Facebook page and learn about some of the craft brews that will be featured at this event and to win tickets.

Like the Event on Facebook

AFHM would like to remind everyone to please drink responsibly.  No-one under 21 years old will be permitted at this event. There are no exceptions.  Must have ID.


Red, White and Craft Brews Fest is presented in part by JJ Taylor Distributors, Cigar City Brewing, tbt* and Florida Restaurant Purchasing Group.

May 26th – Memorial Day Family Fun Fest

Join the Armed Forces History Museum for their 6th Annual Memorial Day Family FunFest on Monday, May 26, 2014 – from 10 AM to 3 PM.  Admission to this family-friendly event is just $10 for adults and $5 for youths 4-12.

 (Tickets can also be purchased at the museum, or by calling the museum at 727-539-8371. Please note: A small service fee applies to all on-line orders and phone orders.)

As in previous years, enjoy rock wall climbing, a bounce house, power bungee jumping, face painting, military dress up, photo opportunities, and more (not all activities are included in the admission cost).  The Fun Fest also has a number of great presentations lined up for the day:

  • 10:00AM – Meet Sandy O’Hara Miss Armed Forces Pin Up – Vietnam 1971
  • 10:30AM – WWII re-enactors from the 1st Infantry Division conduct drills and presentations.
  • 11:15AM – Martial Arts Fitness provides martial arts demonstrations.
  • 11:45AM – Clearwater High School’s JROTC will showcase a color guard, a drill exhibition and cadet duels.
  • 12:15PM – Swing dancers from Swing Gang teach you how to swing dance.
  • 1:15PM – WWII re-enactors will once again conduct drills and presentations.
  • 2:00PM – Meet the Bomber Girls

Florida Blood Bank will also be on hand and all who donate will receive 2 MOVIE TICKETS, a $5.00 Outback Coupon and a chance to SAVE 3 LIVES!!!

It’s a great line-up added to a great day of fun for the whole family.  Food, drinks and snacks will on hand for purchase.  In season’s past, this event has drawn a rollicking crowd looking to celebrate the long weekend.  Make Memorial Day a memorable event this year – Don’t miss out!  

 (Please note: A small service fee applies to all on-line orders and phone orders.)

MEM Re-enactorsThe Armed Forces History Museum is located just off of Ulmerton on 34th Way N (between Belcher and Starkey) in Largo, FL.  Turn at the Citgo Gas Station.  Click on the link below for driving directions.

Driving Directions to AFHM

Memorial Day Family FunFest is presented in part by Q105, ReMax and Swing Dance USA.


The Vietnam War

The Armed Forces History Museum in Largo, FL has a section of the museum dedicated to the Vietnam War.  The dioramas include the Ho Chi Minh Trail and the Vietnam Firebase.  Memorabilia from this era are also on display in the Vietnam War area of the museum.

A Look at the Vietnam War

The Vietnam War took place during the Cold War era, begining in November of 1955.  The two opposing sides consisted of the communist Allies who supported North Vietnam and the United States, along with other countries who were against communists and supported South Vietnam.

The United States became involved in the war in an effort to ward off a communistic overthrow of South Vietnam.  U.S. involvement during the war escalated in the early 60s.  The first combat units were deployed in 1965 within a year of the North Vietnamese firing on two U.S. naval ships located in international waters.  The United States relied highly on their air superiority and immense amount of available firepower when conducting their search and destroy missions in Vietnam.  These missions not only involved ground forces, but also heavy artillery and airstrikes.

Aircraft dispensing agent orange

Aircraft dispensing agent orange

Great controversy surrounded the Vietnam War and the United States’ involvement in it.   Many U.S. citizens were in opposition of this conflict, feeling there was no way to win.  Other controversy has since focused on the widespread use of chemicals.  Their use was implemented to defoliate large areas of the countryside to expose otherwise, well hidden enemy camps.  No one knew the long term implications to applying the chemicals, which to this day, contribute to an ever changing landscape and is at the base of many of the diseases and birth defects being experienced by those who were exposed to them.

The Vietnam War came on an end on April 30, 1975, but not before a high number of casualties were inflicted on both sides.  The United States troops lost over 58,000 soldiers during the Vietnam War with an additional estimate of 1,700 still MIA.  In all, anti-communist forces lost over 315,000 military and over 2 million South civilians.  The Communist forces suffered over one million losses and also an estimated 2 million civilians.  To this day, the Vietnam War serves as a reminder for the United States in what “not-to-do” when engaging in foreign conflicts.