Not everyone can lay claim to the honor of holding the title as a veteran. In order to serve one’s country, it takes a large degree of humility and self-sacrifice. Veterans rightly deserve recognition for their service. In today’s blog, we honor a few famous veterans who have served our country in war.
Elvis Presley is most famous for his music, earning the title of “King of Rock and Roll,” but he also served in the United States Army. 1956 was a significant year for Presley: he had his first number-one single, “Heartbreak Hotel,” his first number-one self-titled album, and his first movie, Love Me Tender. In 1957, however, he was drafted. Starting in 1958, Elvis started his service in Friedburg, Germany, which lasted about 18 months. He says of this time, “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 myself otherwise, not only to the people who were wondering, but to myself.”
Ultimately, Elvis worked his way up the ranks to sergeant, and once said, “The Army teaches boys to think like men.”
Known for playing the role of Dorothy in The Golden Girls, this actress was actually one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve. When she joined the Marines, she registered under the name Bernice Frankel. She joined before the age of 21 and needed her parents’ permission to enlist in the Corps, but in February 1943, she officially became part of the Marines, working as both a truck driver and a typist. While stationed in Virginia and North Carolina, she was promoted from corporal to sergeant to staff sergeant before being honorably discharged in 1945. From there, she became a Broadway actress before making her mark in television.
It may be no surprise that the first man to walk on the moon had a long fascination with flying. As a teenager, he earned his pilot’s license and then went on to study aeronautical engineering at Purdue University on a U.S. Navy scholarship. He trained as a Navy pilot and served in the Korean War, flying 78 combat missions over the course of three years. He was in the U.S. Naval Reserve for eight years after his service, and in 1962 was chosen as an astronaut by NASA.