A list of 6 famous US veterans. Some veterans on this list might never have become who they are without serving in the military…
In 1956, Elvis Presley had his first No. 1 single, his first No. 1 self-titled album, and his first movie, Love Me Tender, which was a hit. And then, the following year, 1957, he was drafted into the US military.
When his famous hair received the infamous military buzz cut, he expressed: “Hair today, gone tomorrow.”
March 1958, Elvis Presley was inducted into the Army. He served in Friedburg, Germany, for nearly 18 months. There, he met his wife, Priscilla Beaulieu.
In an interview with the Armed Forces Radio and Television, Presley said, “I was in a funny position… Actually, that’s the only way it could be. People were expecting me to mess up, to goof up in one way or another. They thought I couldn’t take it and so forth, and I was determined to go to any limits to prove otherwise, not only to the people who were wondering but to myself.”
Elvis Presley ended up working his way into Sergeant status, later stating, “The Army teaches boys to think like men.”
Before Johnny Cash became the famous Man in Black, he was a member of the US Air Force. He enlisted as “John R. Cash” right after the start of the Korean War and trained at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. While stationed in Landsberg, West Germany, he served as a radio intercept officer using high-speed Morse Code to tap on the Soviet Army radio.
In his autobiography, Johnny Cash wrote that he was the first American to intercept Joseph Stalin’s death reports in 1953. During his downtime in Germany, he wrote songs, including “Folsom Prison Blues,” and played live music with an Air Force band called Landsberg Barbarians.
“That was the big thing when I was growing up, singing on the radio,” he stated. “The extent of my dream was to sing on the radio station in Memphis. Even when I got out of the Air Force in 1954, I came right back to Memphis and started knocking on doors at the radio station.” Working on radios in the military seemed fitting for Cash.
Neil Armstrong had a long fascination with flight. Consequently, that led him to get a pilot’s license as a teenager and then study aeronautical engineering at Purdue University with a scholarship from the US Navy.
After finishing Navy pilot training in 1949, Armstrong served in the Korean War. He flew 78 combat missions and logged in 2,600 hours in flight, including 1,100 in a jet aircraft. Although he was thrown from an F9F Panther jet early on, he also earned three air medals.
After his military service, he served in the US Naval Reserve for eight years until 1960. After two years, he became an astronaut for NASA, which led to his walk on the moon in 1969.
In 1955, Morgan Freeman turned down a scholarship to Jackson State University and joined the Air Force instead.
“I took to it immediately when I arrived there,” he said to Interview. “I did three years, eight months, and ten days in all, but it took me a year and a half to get disabused of my romantic notions about it.”
“When I was getting close to being accepted for pilot training, I was allowed to get in a jet airplane,” he continued. “I sat there looking at all those switches and dials, and I got the distinct feeling that I was sitting in the nose of the bomb. I realized my fantasies of flying and fighting were just that — fantasies. They had nothing to do with the reality of killing people. What I wanted was the movie version. So that was the end of the whole idea of doing anything other than acting for me. I’ve never had any other vocation.”
John McCain was born into a military family; both his father and grandfather were four-star admirals. He was born on Coco Solo Naval Station in Panama Canal Zone and raised at various naval bases worldwide.
After graduating from the Naval Academy at Annapolis in 1958, he volunteered for combat duty in the Vietnam War. During his service, he was shot down over Hanoi.
With a broken leg and two broken arms, he was taken to Vietnamese prison camps. Because his father was commander, John McCain was held captive for five and a half years. He endured tremendous torture and was used as a victim of propaganda, making him one of the most famous American prisoners of war.
Better known for her role as the leader of the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman was also the first to lead a military excursion as a spy for the union during the Civil War.
She successfully made more than a dozen trips to North from South between 1850 and 1860. Harriet Tubman’s highly coveted skillset for covert operations was precise. Around 1862, she started gathering intelligence, even building a spy ring.
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