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U.S. Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and U.S. Navy seamen from the U.S.S. Wasp land in a CH-53 helicopter on a field November 6, 2012 in the Midland Beach area of the Staten Island borough of New York. The Marines and Navy seamen are assisting local residents removing household items damaged by Superstorm Sandy.
The draft ended almost 40 years ago, and even though the U.S. population has grown, the size of the military has declined.
The service is now all-volunteer and often staffed by members of so-called "military families." According to a Department of Defense 2011 Status of Forces survey, 57 percent of active troops today are the children of members of the armed forces.