The soldiers of The Salvation Army (wearing blue epaulets), the committed laity, are local citizens in communities throughout the U.S. who give allegiance to the doctrines and disciplines of the Army. There are approximately 450,000 soldiers in the United States.
These soldiers may take on volunteer responsibilities in the congregation or help in the Army's social service outreach. Many soldiers give valuable service in directing and leading youth groups in character-building activities. Many take part in the Army's musical programs and teach young people to sing and play.
As a valuable means of service to the community, soldiers visit the sick and lonely in hospitals, nursing homes, and correctional institutions. Social service programs are enhanced by the commitment of soldiers who often give their time in the Army's basic ministries of shelter and food provision.
Soldiers abstain from the use of alcoholic beverages, drugs, and tobacco. Trained and qualified soldiers are appointed as "local officers." This corresponds to a non-commissioned officer in the armed forces. Other members of the congregation are adherents who participate in church activities but have not signed on as soldiers. Adherents may take on some lay responsibilities, such as teaching Sunday School classes.