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Eight Famous Men You Didn’t Know Served the Military

They are certainly more than just our folks in the limelight who shone bright in their own craft. Little we do know, the following celebrity veterans have surely lived their lives well, both in their professions and in their noble advocacies.

1. Ice-T

Known as a musician and actor Ice T, Tracy Marrow served four years in the U.S. Army in the 25th Infantry Division from 1979 to 1983 after he graduated from high school. When asked about his enlisting in the army, he said, “When I had my daughter, I was like, man, I’m going to go to jail, I got to do something, and I went to an enlistment office. Next thing you know, I’m in the military, four years infantry.”

During his deployment in Hawaii, he served as a squad leader at Schofield Barracks and it was there that he first purchased stereo equipment. Throughout his deployment in Hawaii he used his time in the army to build financial stability and launch his career as a rapper.

2. Buzz Aldrin

He is notably recognized as the second person to walk on the moon. Besides being an American engineer and astronaut, he is also a retired Colonel in the U.S. Air Force. Buzz officially entered the USAF in 1951, scoring near the top of his class in flight school, and began fighter training that same year.

During his time in the military, he joined the 51st Fighter Wing and flew F-86 Sabre Jets in 66 combat missions in Korea. After the end of the Korean War, he returned home and earned his Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics, graduating in 1963, and as they always say, the rest is history

3. Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood first started acting in Western movies, but it was his time serving in the military during the Korean War that most likely granted him the biggest adventure of his lifetime. Eastwood was sent to Ft. Ord in California for basic training, where he became a swimming instructor.

He stayed at FT. Ord and was eventually promoted to corporal. After being discharged in 1953 Eastwood studied drama under the GI Bill and began his acting career which has now spanned over six decades.

4. Morgan Freeman

With a very recognizable authoritative voice and gentle mannerisms, Morgan Freeman is now known as one of the most popular and respected actors in Hollywood. At a young age, he became infatuated with the idea of flying, and joined the U.S. Air Force in 1955 but was ordered to be a radar technician. Although he wasn’t satisfied with his occupation within the Air Force he held on to the dream of being a fighter pilot for quite some time.

“I joined the Air Force. I took to it immediately when I arrived there. 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.”

5. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Actor, producer, writer, body builder, politician… It seems the list of Schwarzenegger’s professional endeavors goes on and on. He also served in the Austrian Army in 1965 – it was required by all 18-year-old Australian males to serve one year of service.

At the same time he was a young weight trainer, and would often sneak out of camp for a week at a time so he could compete in the Junior Mr. Europe contest. He won the competition’s title, but was punished for leaving camp and was forced to spend a few nights in Military prison. Arnold completed the mandatory year of service with the Austrian Army and later went on to win Mr. Universe, which turned out to be his ticket to America.

6. Elvis Presley

Just two years after his hit songs “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Hound Dog” hit radios all over the world, turning this Mississippi boy into the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley was drafted into the United States Army in 1957. When asked what he thought of being at the height of his career and serving in the army at the same time, he said, “The army can do anything it wants with me. Millions of other guys have been drafted, and I don’t want to be different from anyone else.”

He was stationed in Fort Hood, Texas and later deployed to the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32nd Armor in Friedberg, Germany and was honorably discharged in 1960. Presley also met future wife Priscilla Beaulieu while serving in Germany.

7. Jimmy Stewart

Stewart was an up and coming actor when he chose to give it all up and join the Army Air Corp in 1942. Considering how dangerous the skies over Europe were and the very high rate of attrition suffered by allied pilots, it’s a miracle he survived at all.

Flying no fewer than 20 combat missions over Germany at the controls of the famous B-17 bomber, he received six battle stars, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal and even the famous French decoration, the Croix de Guerre with Palm. He even stayed active in the U.S. Air Force reserve after the war, reaching the rank of Brigadier General before retiring in 1968.

Known for this quote: “I’d like people to remember me as someone who was good at his job and seemed to mean what he said.”

8. Chuck Norris

You probably know who Chuck Norris is from his action movies and as a world champion martial artist, but what you may not know is that Norris is also very dedicated to the military community.

He has used his success to give back to the military and is a spokesman on behalf of the Veteran’s Administration and hospitalized veterans, and he created the “Kick Drugs Out of America” Foundation. Chuck Norris joined the Air Force after high school in 1958 as an Air Policeman and served at the Osan Air Base in South Korea. He was discharged in 1962.

One thing is for sure: All of them, like all soldiers, had to learn the value of hard work, discipline, and sacrifice while serving their time in the military.

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