On Veteran’s Day, people all over the country honour the men and women who have served in the military. So many people, including some famous people, have given their time and even their lives to protect the red, white, and blue. Here are some famous people who may have surprised you by serving in the military.
After he graduated from high school, Johnny Cash joined the Air Force. TogetherWeServed.com says that he graduated from high school in 1950, the same year that the Korean War began. He served in the military for four years, and he did most of it in Germany as an intercept operator for the USAF Security Service.
Kris Kristofferson is a country music star who starred with Barbra Streisand in the 1976 movie A Star Is Born. A military family raised him. His father was a U.S. Army Air Corps officer. Military.com says that Kris joined the U.S. Army in 1960 and learned how to fly helicopters while he was there. In 2004, Kristofferson was given a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame. The songs “Me and Bobby McGee,” “For the Good Times,” and many others made him famous.
The Washington Post says that Elvis Presley gave up his blue suede shoes when he joined the U.S. Army in 1957. On March 24, 1958, at Fort Chaffee, the singer joined the army. He went to Fort Hood to get trained and was then sent to Friedberg, Germany, where he was stationed. He met Priscilla Beaulieu in Germany. She was the daughter of an officer in the US Air Force, and she would later marry him. In 1960, he was fired on good terms.
Today says that Bea Arthur drove a truck and typed for the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve for almost three years. In 1943, when she was 21 years old, the Golden Girls star joined the army. In Washington, D.C., Bea worked as a typist. In North Carolina, she was a driver and a dispatcher. In 1945, she got a good discharge and was promoted to staff sergeant.
Chuck Norris joined the U.S. Air Force in 1958 and worked in South Korea as an Air Policeman. The Army website says that people who did martial arts there gave him ideas. Later, he became famous for being the first person from the West to get an eighth-degree black belt in Taekwondo.
A post on Seattle Post-Intelligencer says that actor Paul Newman worked as an aviation radioman and aerial gunner in the U.S. Navy during World War II. At first, they were supposed to serve in Okinawa, but their mission was put off because one of the pilots got sick. This saved the pilot’s life. Marian Edelman Borden’s Paul Newman: A biography says that he was let out of the Navy in 1946 and given the following medals: the Navy Combat Action Ribbon, in addition to the WWII Victory Medal, the recipient also received the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, the American Theater Campaign Medal, and the Good Conduct Medal.
Morgan Freeman turned down a scholarship to study theatre at Jackson State University because he wanted to be a pilot. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1955. But, as he told Interview Magazine, flying wasn’t exactly what he had hoped for. He started his acting career in 1962.
Drew Carey joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1980 and served there for six years. During his time in the military, he not only got the black glasses and buzz cut that are now his signature look, but he also learned how to be funny. He told Impacting Our Future in an interview that he started doing stand-up comedy to make a little extra cash.
The Los Angeles Times says that Jimi Hendrix had to choose between going to jail or joining the Army when he was caught riding in stolen cars in Seattle. So, in 1961, Hendrix joined the army and was sent to Kentucky to work with the 101st Airborne Division. According to Military.com, he was a paratrooper and got the Screaming Eagles patch, but he was let go in the end.
Clint Eastwood joined the Army in 1950, when the Korean War was going on. He was sent to teach swimming at Fort Ord in California. Clint told The Hollywood Reporter in an interview that when the military plane he was in crashed into the Pacific Ocean, he was able to swim to shore.
Mel Brooks told NPR that when he was in high school, the Army tried to get him to join. Soon after that, he went to the Virginia Military Institute to join the Army Specialized Training Program. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers website says that he was a combat engineer during World War II. It was his job to set off land mines. He participated in the Battle of the Bulge as well. Later in life, Mel Brooks had great success as a film director and screenwriter. The Producers, Blazing Saddles, and Young Frankenstein are a few of his most well-known films.
The New York Times says that Humphrey Bogart joined the U.S. Navy after being kicked out of school in 1918. The future star of “Casablanca” spent most of his time in the Navy moving troops between the United States and Europe. On June 18, 1919, Bogart was let out of the army with honour. At the time, he was a second-class sailor.
Johnny Carson joined the U.S. Navy in 1943 and was sent to the USS Pennsylvania. He never saw combat, though. Rolling Stone says that Johnny entertained his fellow Navy members and even did magic tricks for the Secretary of the Navy, James Forrestal. Then he worked as a communications officer until 1946, when he was fired.
Ed McMahon worked for the Marine Corps as a flight instructor for two years before being sent to fight in World War II in 1945. Snopes says that he flew 85 combat missions during the Korean War, even though his original mission was cancelled when the war ended. Ed also got six air medals, and he was a colonel when he left the army in 1966. Later, he became well-known for co-hosting The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
TogetherServed.com says that Tony Bennett joined the U.S. Army in 1944 and served in France and Germany during World War II. During his time in the service, Tony sang with the military band.
Biography.com says that George Carlin joined the Air Force after dropping out of high school. He worked at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana as a radar technician. Later, his work on The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show made him a big star.
Sunny Anderson was in the U.S. Air Force before she had her own show on the Food Network called “Cooking for Real.” Food Network says that Sunny’s father was in the military when she was growing up, so she decided to do the same. As a radio journalist and broadcaster in the Air Force, she got on-air experience that helped her when she later had her own show.
Tom Selleck now works for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund as a spokesperson. He helps spread the word about their causes and campaigns in this role. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, he was in the California Army National Guard. In 1965, when there were riots in Watts, Los Angeles, his unit was called to duty.
Even though Montel Williams is best known for his daytime talk show, he is a seasoned veteran with a long list of accomplishments. According to the Washington Post, Montel joined the Marines in 1974 and then went to the U.S. Naval Academy in 1976. He then joined the army and served for more than ten years. He was a lieutenant commander when he left. As a reward for his service, the Navy gave him the Navy Achievement Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Navy Commendation Medal. Later, in 2008, he got the The Department of the Navy Superior Public Service Award for continuing to help Army families while working as a TV host.
Soon after Carole Lombard died in a plane crash in 1942, Clark Gable joined the Army Air Force. She was going home from a tour to sell war bonds. According to the Defense Media Network, the actor served in five combat missions before he was given an honourable discharge.