October 26 marks the National Day of the Deployed. The day honors all servicemembers who have been deployed in the service of the United States. It also honors the sacrifices their families have made during deployments.
More Americans deployed to combat zones overseas during World War II than any other war in American history.
According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), during the World War II period, from September 16, 1940, through July 25, 1947, some 16.5 million men and women served in the US Armed Forces. This equates to about one-third of the American male population 15 years and older. Of those serving in uniform during World War II, approximately 73 percent, or more than 12 million Americans, served overseas.
At first glance, the dates used by the VA to mark the World War II period may seem unusual, since they do not denote either Pearl Harbor or V-J Day, the dates Americans typically use for the beginning and end of the war. The draft, or the Selective Service and Training Act, became law on September 16, 1940. The first peacetime draft in American history, the law required all American men between the ages of 21 (and later 18) and 45 to register for the draft. The period came to a close on July 25, 1947, when President Harry S. Truman signed a law ending 60 wartime emergency laws.
The strategic and tactical requirements of the Allied war effort to defeat the Axis powers required American forces to be deployed around the world. Some deployed by air, thanks to the Air Transport Command.
Most American servicemen and women deployed by sea, and the majority of those in troopships. With the end of the war, the United States executed Operation MAGIC CARPET to bring more than 8 million servicemen and women home between June 1945 and September 1946. The operation used a range of vessels, from Army Transports to Liberty and Victory ships and even US Navy warships such as the carrier USS Saratoga (CV-3).