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Treasure Hunting Marine

Emil Knodell retired from the Marines a long time ago, but he’s never stopped thinking like a Marine. Part of that thinking is to do the right thing no matter what situation you find yourself in. When Knodell was recently tested, he made the right decision.

Although Knodell worked in California as a marketing director in the publishing business, when he retired, he returned to his home state of Texas. One of the things Knodell likes to do with his time now is to go to estate sales. There’s nothing boring about estate sales as far as Knodell is concerned. Instead, he says, "There's a little element of treasure hunting, the adventure of finding something of historical interest.” He goes on these adventures about once a month.

A chest of drawers at the right price

That’s how Knodell found himself at an estate sale in Missouri City, Texas. He wasn’t looking for anything specific. “I always come to a sale with an open mind because you never know,” says Knodell. “It’s always good to come at the half-price time because then the big fun starts.”

His bargain-hunting tactic paid off when he spotted a hand-made walnut dresser with a perfectly intact marble top that was probably made in the 1890s. Although Premiere Estate Sales Network, which was managing the sale had originally priced the antique dresser at $300, by the time Knodell got there on the third day of the sale, the price had dropped to $100.

It wasn’t just the price, though, that attracted Knodell to the chest of drawers. He later explained that, "Because it has a nice marble top, I hope to use it in my dining room.” He was impressed by the piece’s beautiful craftsmanship, too. "It was made of solid walnut and had great pulls on it," Knodell said. "It had a lot of original integrity to it. I thought it was remarkable that the marble top had survived and not been broken."

A mysterious clanking

Knodell would have been satisfied if he had walked away from the estate sale with a great piece of furniture. The real adventure, though, began after he had paid for the piece and, with help from the estate sales people, started loading it into his camper top. The chest of drawers was too tall to go into the chest standing upright, so Knodell and his helpers gently turned the dresser on its side. That’s when they heard something unexpected.

The antique dresser was so solidly built that, barring the quiet banging of the wooden drawers as they were shifted, the guys should not have heard anything as they moved the dresser around. To their amazement, though, as they moved the dresser around, they heard a loud metallic rattling.

Jeff Allen, a representative for Premiere Estate Sales Network, explained that "As soon as we laid it down, it started making all this racket on the inside.” Trying to describe the sound, Allen added that "When we laid it down on the side, it sounded like a slot machine. I said, 'What in the world was that?' I figured I would look and see a bunch of marbles or nails."

A secret drawer

The men started opening the dresser’s three drawers, but they were as empty as they had been when the dresser was first put up for sale. The men began investigating more closely. The marble top was securely attached to the dresser and none of the drawers had any hidden backs or bottoms.

However, when they looked closely at the baseboard under the third drawer, they realized that it was, in fact, a hidden compartment. After only a little investigation, they figured out how to open the secret compartment – and they were stunned by what they saw.

Hidden treasure

“There were rings, diamonds, gold and all kinds of stuff,” said Allen. “It was a real adrenaline rush. Both of us were in shock for a second." They had a treasure in front of them and what a treasure.

As they turned over the items filling the secret drawer, Knodell and Allen saw Civil War medals, a sentimental lock of hair, jewelry with pearls, emeralds, diamonds, and rubies, gold and silver coins, and antique military dog tags. Nor was this just costume jewelry and “junktiques.” This was the real thing. An appraisal revealed that the dresser’s contents were worth about $15,000.

A Marine’s decision

At this point, Knodell could have walked away, having gotten himself a $15,000 treasure chest for $100. Knodell, however, saw things differently. He later explained, "I’m an old ex-Marine and I try to do the right thing. Jeff also, the man in charge, his immediate reaction was, 'Let’s call the owner.' There was never a question of anyone keeping it; it was: 'This is fantastic. Let’s call the owner and get the stuff back to them.'”

Knodell knew that he would never find piece if he walked away with these family treasures. "I bought the chest drawers,” Knodell said. “I didn't buy those things. If I kept them, I would never feel right about it. There would be a cloud over the whole thing. It's a feeling more than anything else."

A surprised, happy heir

Once Knodell made the decision that, even though he had bought the chest and its contents fair and square, he could not in good conscience keep the treasures from the secret drawer, Allen contacted the son of the man who had owned the dresser. The treasure was a huge surprise to the son too. "He remembers that dresser in a house in Michigan when he was a little child -- in his grand folks’ house," said Allen. "And he had no idea there was a hidden compartment."

**Check out these Celebs who have served as true heroes**

Gal Gadot

Maybe she’s really Wonder Woman after all. After being crowned Miss Israel in 2004, Gal Gadot enlisted as a soldier in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) where she taught gymnastics and calisthenics as a combat instructor. In Israel, serving in the IDF is mandatory, but it also made a difference in Gadot’s career.

She believes that she was able to break into acting because Justin Lin, the director of “Fast and Furious,” was impressed by her military experience. “You give two or three years, and it’s not about you,” she said of her time serving with the IDF. “You learn discipline and respect.” She had previously auditioned for the role of Bond girl Camille Montes in “Quantum of Solace,” which also contributed to her joining the “Fast and Furious” cast. Her more recent roles as Wonder Woman in “Batman v. Superman,” “Wonder Woman,” and “Justice League” have brought her worldwide acclaim.

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson joined the U.S. Air Force straight out of high school. His military career didn’t last long, however, as he was medically discharged after just nine short months due to back problems. He did take away a bit of wisdom from his months served: “I was in the Air Force a while, and they had what they call ‘policing the area.’ I think that’s a pretty good thing to go by. If everyone just takes care of their own area, then we won’t have any problems. Be here. Be present. Wherever you are, be there. And look around you and see what needs to be changed.”

After the Air Force, he studied agriculture for a while before he dropped out to chase after a career in music, which he finally managed to start when Dr. Ben Parker, who ran a local radio station, decided to give him a chance as a DJ even though he didn’t have any experience working in radio. Nelson used the equipment there to record his first two songs, which were rejected by the local record label.

Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck is openly proud of his military service. He said, “I was a sergeant in the U.S. Army infantry, National Guard, Vietnam era. We’re all brothers and sisters in that sense.” Selleck served from 1967 to 1973 in the California National Guard. He had already joined 20th Century Fox and was learning acting when he was issued orders for the draft and decided to join the Guard — but when he left the military, Fox dropped his contract.

Selleck pressed on and 11 years later was offered “Magnum, P.I.” He’d filmed six other TV pilots in the intervening years that had gone unsold before finally hitting the role that made him famous. Magnum was a veteran of the US Navy who became a private detective, a role that Selleck played for eight seasons and 163 episodes.

Benny Hill

Remember “The Benny Hill Show”? The British slapstick expert was known as one of the funniest silent showmen ever, reaching a record audience of more than 21 million people in 1971. Most people don’t know that Benny Hill also served time in the military. Benny Hill served in the British Army as one of the electrical and mechanical engineers that arrived in Normandy during WWII on September 1, 1944. He was in the 3rd Light Anti-Aircraft Searchlight Battery. Hill was not a huge fan of his time in the service and preferred to not speak much about it.

We don’t know if his slapstick ways started while he was in the military, but we do know that when he got back, he started working to make his mark in showbusiness. He initially worked in plays and radio, but it’s television where he finally hit his stride with “The Benny Hill Show.”

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris became interested in the martial arts while he was stationed in Korea as a member of the U.S. Air Force. At the time, he was in the security police and was upset that he had to draw his weapon to arrest a drunk. He began studying Tae Kwon Do and Tang Soo Do and eventually became the world middleweight karate champion for six years.

During that time, he met Bruce Lee. The two became friends, which led to Norris landing roles in several martial arts films, including “Way of the Dragon.” He played in a number of action movies and TV shows before landing his most famous role as the star of “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Norris is the inspiration for countless how-tough-is-Chuck Norris-isms, including this one: “Chuck Norris once shot down an enemy fighter plane with his finger, by yelling ‘Bang!’”

Clint Eastwood

The actor, director, and filmmaker wanted to apply to college out of high school, but he was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Despite his tough-guy image, Clint Eastwood was a lifeguard working on base for the duration of his service. When he initially started trying to act, after getting out of the military, he was told that his appearance and stature were good, but that he needed acting lessons in order to actually get any work. Apparently, it was his stiff manner and habit of delivering his lines through his teeth that caused the biggest issues, even though he also had trouble following stage directions. Those became major trademarks of his character.

He went on to be an A-lister in Hollywood, starring in too many movies to list. He also has directed many military movies, including “Heartbreak Ridge,” “Flags of our Fathers,” “Firefox,” and “American Sniper.” “American Sniper” is based on the true story of Chris Kyle’s time serving as a Navy SEAL during the Iraq War. This film allowed Eastwood to showcase a deeper take on the effects of war and the stresses our soldiers and their families go through.

Sean Connery

Sean Connery is known for his decades-long acting career and as one of the sexiest James Bonds. Just like his character 007, he did spend time in the military, but alas it was not as exciting as Bond’s. Connery served in the Royal Navy and was stationed aboard the HMS Formidable from 1947-1950. Instead of joining MI6, however, he was medically discharged due to a stomach ulcer.

After he was discharged, he held a variety of odd jobs and performed in bodybuilding competitions and as a soccer player. He was actually offered a spot on Manchester United but turned it down to pursue a career in acting because he was already 23 and knew that as a “footballer” he’d have to retire when he was around thirty. Apparently, he made the right choice, since his career has now spanned decades.

Harry Belafonte

Although Harry Belafonte joined the U.S. Navy in 1944 to fight in World War II, he did not end up going overseas. After his discharge, his GI Bill benefits enabled him to further his education at The New School for Social Research. In the late 1940s, he studied acting at The New School’s dramatic workshop and performed with the American Negro Theater. To pay for his acting classes, he sang in New York clubs.

While he won a Tony Award for his performance in “John Murray Anderson’s Almanac,” his career gradually shifted primarily to music. In 1956, his album “Calypso” was, according to Belafonte, the first to sell over 1 million copies. That’s pretty impressive for a debut album. It’s still ranked as number four on Billboard’s list of the top 100 albums of all time, since it held the number-one spot on the US charts for thirty-one weeks and took ninety-nine weeks to drop off the list entirely.

Walt Disney

The beloved Walt Disney contributed to the military and American war effort in a unique way. When he first attempted to join the service in 1918 to fight in World War I, the U.S. Army turned him down because he was only 16 at the time. Disney and his creative ways won out, as he forged the date on his birth certificate and was able to join the American Ambulance Corps, a division of the Red Cross. Just days after the war ended, his outfit was shipped off to France where he was assigned to an evacuation hospital and drove trucks and ambulances. He also served in the actual military during World War II. This time, his true talents were put to use creating propaganda cartoons and instructional videos for soldiers. The special unit was appropriately called the “Walt Disney Training Films Unit.”

After the war, he set up Disney Brothers Studio and began developing the animated films that we have all come to know and love. He introduced new techniques for film and animation, which resulted in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” “Pinocchio,” “Fantasia,” and many other films. By the time he died in 1966, Disney, the son of a failed orange grower and newspaper deliveryman, had grown his net worth to tens of millions of dollars, including a 14% stake in the Walt Disney Corporation worth $20 million.

Drew Carey

The host of “The Price is Right” was once an active member of the armed forces. Drew Carey spent six years as a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps. He also started his stand-up career while serving in the military. Carey supports the troops to this day by touring overseas with the USO. “I think if I did not have such a great break, I would still be in the military,” said Carey. “I still wear my hair short and have the glasses. Also, I enjoyed the regimen and camaraderie. I knew that once I left the reserves, I would give back to the military, so I teamed up with the USO.”

When he left the military, he moved to Vegas and worked as a bank teller and at Denny’s, while also writing jokes for David Lawrence, a friend of his who was a disc jockey in Cleveland. That connection ended up spurring him to compete in an open-mic contest and becoming the MC for the Cleveland Comedy Club. Building from that, he appeared on the “Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and finally hit the big time.

Tony Bennett

Tony Bennett got his first singing job with a military band. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1944 and served in the “Blood and Fire” division in Germany and France. While in Europe, he was demoted from corporal to private due to words exchanged with an officer over Bennett inviting a black friend to eat with him. He was eventually transferred to special services and studied music before returning to the United States. He used his GI Bill benefits to study voice.

After a few years of singing small gigs while in school and waiting tables, he was “discovered” by Pearl Bailey and Bob Hope, the latter of whom brought Bennett along on the road and helped him get his first album with Columbia Records.

John Coltrane

John Coltrane’s first recording on the alto saxophone was made in July 1946 while he was a member of the U.S. Navy. Coltrane had enlisted in the Navy on August 6, 1945, one day after the U.S. dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan. In late 1945, he was shipped to Pearl Harbor as an apprentice seaman. He joined the base swing band and became one of few servicemen in the Navy who served as musicians without having a musicians’ rating. Because the band had only white members, Coltrane played as a “guest performer.”

After his discharge, he started touring with bands back home in Philadelphia, including King Kolax and a band led by Jimmy Heath. He studied jazz theory under Dennis Sandole and slowly improved his repertoire until he was playing both tenor and alto sax in multiple groups. That’s also when he met Miles Davis, who would become something of a rival off and on throughout his career.

Alan Alda

For Alan Alda, who served in the U.S. military and played Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series “M*A*S*H,” it seems as if art imitates life. In real life, Alda contracted polio when he was only seven years old, but his parents managed to apply a treatment regimen that ended up saving his life.

Alda joined the U.S. Army Reserve after graduating from Fordham University, where he was in the ROTC. He spent a year at Fort Benning on the Alabama/Georgia border, then served for six months as a gunnery officer in Korea just after the Korean War. As Captain Hawkeye Pierce, he played a medic stationed overseas during the Korean War.

Alda was nominated for 21 Emmy Awards for his role on “M*A*S*H” and won five.

Adam Driver

Adam Driver, the actor from the HBO series “Girls” and Kylo Ren in the new “Star Wars” franchise, actually had a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. 9-11 jolted him into action, and he says that he and his friends all agreed they needed to join after that horrific terrorist attack. Ultimately, he was the only one that actually did.

Driver thrived in the military and felt a sense of unity with his fellow marines. He even created “Arts in the Armed Forces” (AITAF), a non-profit that performs theater for all branches of the military. He liked the discipline the Marine Corps provides and looked forward to deploying, but after serving for more than two years, he injured his sternum mountain biking and was medically discharged before ever seeing any action. Now he plays the leader of armies of stormtroopers in the First Order, which I’m sure draws in part from his military experience.

Charlton Heston

Charlton Heston enlisted in the Air Force in 1944. He was stationed in Alaska as a radio operator and aerial gunner on the B-25 Mitchell bomber, but he never saw combat. After the war, he and his wife moved moved to New York City and worked as models for a while before managing a playhouse in North Carolina as a way to break into theater.

Later, after he became a Hollywood star, the military asked Heston to lend his distinctive voice to the narration of Department of Energy films about nuclear weapons. Because these films were classified, for this work Heston needed to hold the highest security clearance level in the U.S. at that time.

Toward the end of his life, he was active in the National Rifle Association, which he apparently considered to be connected to his military service, given that the NRA was originally founded by former Union soldiers who were appalled at the marksmanship of their fellows.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

The famous novelist and short story writer F. Scott Fitzgerald may be best known for his novel “The Great Gatsby,” but what you may not know is that he dropped out of Princeton University when World War I started and took a commission as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. Thinking of the possibility of his death, he was motivated to write in all of his off hours, hoping he could still leave behind a literary legacy. Fitzgerald never did make it to battle though, as the 1918 Armistice was signed just before he was set to be shipped out. His time in the service did produce a draft of what would become his hit debut novel “This Side of Paradise.”

After leaving the Army, Fitzgerald moved to New York City and started working advertising, hoping that he’d be able to make enough money through copywriting that his girlfriend Zelda Sayre would agree to marry him. However, he could not break through into a lucrative career like he had hoped, and when she broke off the engagement, he moved back home with his parents. After revising his novel “The Romantic Egotist” into “This Side of Paradise,” he managed to sell enough copies that Zelda agreed to marry him.

James Stewart

James Stewart had wanted to be a pilot growing up, but his father convinced him to go to Princeton instead of the US Naval Academy. While there, he began acting in plays but rarely saw much success, in part due to the Great Depression. His career in Hollywood was just really starting to take off when he was drafted into the Army in October of 1940.

However, his weight wasn’t high enough for new recruits and he was rejected. After working with a trainer, he managed to get his weight up enough to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps before the United States entered World War II. As an experienced commercial pilot, he was well prepared for the role.

While in training, he took college courses with the goal of obtaining a commission, which he received after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He went through basic flight training and was trained in several different types of aircraft before being transferred to England as the commander of a B-24 bomber squadron. Stewart had flown 20 combat missions by the end of war, and after his active service was complete, he stayed in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. In July 1959, he was promoted to brigadier general.

Paul Newman

Hoping to become a pilot, Paul Newman joined the U.S. Navy through Yale’s V-12 college training program. His hopes were crushed soon after when it was discovered that he was colorblind. Instead, he had to settle for basic training where he trained to be a rear-seat radioman and gunner for torpedo bombers. He was discharged in 1946 with military honors including the Good Conduct Medal, American Area Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

He then attended Kenyon College using the GI Bill and studied drama and economics. After school, he moved to New York, where he soon made his broadway debut in William Inge’s “Picnic.”After a couple years on Broadway, Newman began solidly making his way into film. His first Hollywood production was “The Silver Chalice,” which bombed terribly. However, he quickly made up for it with “Somebody Up There Likes Me” and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” which were both successful and launched his career into superstardom.

Steve McQueen

“All in all, despite my problems, I liked my time in the Marines,” Steve McQueen once said. After a rough early life, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1947. But McQueen was inclined toward disobedience, to put it mildly, and he was demoted seven times. After a weekend pass turned into a two-week “vacation” of his own making, he was arrested, which earned him some time in the brig. During that period, he decided to reform himself. Later, McQueen was training in the Arctic when the ship he was on hit a sandbank. Several tanks and their crews were thrown into the water and many drowned, but McQueen was able to rescue five men.

After his honorable discharge in 1950, McQueen went on to study acting with his G.I. Bill. He earned extra money by competing in motorcycle races on the weekends while he played minor roles on Broadway. In 1955, he moved to California to seek work in Hollywood and quickly became a star.

Robert Duvall

A U.S. Navy brat, Robert Duvall is the son of a rear admiral and a descendant of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. He graduated college in 1953 and then decided to go the military route himself by enlisting in the U.S. Army. Even then, Duvall was interested in acting and performed in plays while serving. He returned to civilian life after two years of service, using the GI Bill to study acting at New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theater.

He branched into television and film roles starting in the early sixties, with movies like “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Captain Newman, M.D.” He’s still active in the industry today, sixty-six years after his first credit in “Laughter in the Stars,” an adaptation of “The Little Prince,” at Gateway Theatre.

Pat Sajak

Before “Wheel of Fortune,” Pat Sajak worked as a DJ on Armed Forces Radio — and he sometimes felt bad for how easy he had it. “I used to feel a bit guilty about my relatively soft duty,” he said. “After all, I was billeted (lodged) in a hotel, and there were plenty of nice restaurants around. But I always felt a little better when I met guys who came into town from the field and thanked us for bringing them a little bit of home.”

He’d gotten the position due to his radio career, which had already begun in his teens. He stayed in radio after he left the military, up until he was hired as a weatherman by KNBC-TV in LA in 1977. He stayed there until he was chosen to host NBC’s “Wheel of Fortune” in 1981, which, of course, is the role that brought him national fame.

Ted Williams

Ted Williams was a famous Boston Red Sox Player who would go to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But first, he was a patriot at heart who interrupted his baseball playing career to join the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II for three years. He served in World War Two as a second lieutenant and naval aviator. When the war ended, he was transferred to Pearl Harbor so that he could play baseball for the Navy in their game against the Army. Allegedly, the game that year was even better than the actual World Series, with Joe DiMaggio, Joe Gordon, and Stan Musial also in the league.

He went back to baseball after his discharge from the Navy in 1946, but he was recalled to military duty from 1952 to 1953 as a Marine combat aviator during the Korean War. Williams flew a total of 39 combat missions in the Korean War. He never lost his baseball ability, batting 342 with 38 home runs in 1946 after returning home. He had a long-running career in spite of the two pauses for military service.

Bill Cosby

Long before Bill Cosby played Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable, the funny-yet-firm TV dad, and even longer before his April 2018 conviction for sexual assault, he was a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman. From 1956 through 1960, Cosby served aboard ships and at the Bethesda Naval Hospital where he worked with Korean War casualties. He was honorably discharged, and in 2011 he was given the title of honorary chief petty officer. The Navy has since revoked the title, citing the allegations that led to Cosby’s court troubles and stating that they conflict with the Navy’s core values.

After he left the Navy, he attended Temple University on a track and field scholarship until he decided to pursue a career in comedy instead. His breakthrough into TV has been cited by other comics, like Jerry Seinfeld, as paving the way for comedians to follow in his footsteps.

Charles Bronson

After enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1943, Charles Bronson served as an aircraft gunner and then flew 25 missions in B-29 bombers. He was wounded in action and was awarded the Purple Heart. After he left the military in 1945, he used his G.I. Bill benefits initially to study art, and later he switched to acting.

His first film role was in 1951, playing a sailor in “You’re in the Navy Now.” He continued to play a number of small roles for many years but finally starred in his own show, “Man with a Camera,” in 1958. That started a line of low budget films where he also played the lead and his career picked up significantly. He hit a peak in the US with his role in “The Dirty Dozen,” where he played the third lead, then moved to Europe for a while to try his luck there. While he was successful, that success didn’t translate back to the US when he returned as much as he would have liked.

Prince Andrew

The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, the brother of Prince Charles, served in the British Military. He was trained to fly the Lynx helicopter and promoted to Lieutenant in 1984. Prince Andrew served aboard the HMS Brazen as a pilot until 1986, which included a deployment to the Mediterranean Sea. He advanced to a helicopter warfare officer in 1986, and also served on HMS Edinburgh as an Officer of the Watch and Assistant Navigating Officer until 1989. He advanced to Senior Pilot of 815 Naval Air Squadron in 1995 and finished his active military career at the British Ministry of Defense as an officer of the Diplomatic Directorate of the Naval Staff in 2001.

He is currently seventh in line for the royal throne, as he is behind his brother Charles and all of Charles’ heirs. He has been involved in a great deal of charity work, including with Fight for Sight, an organization that works to prevent and treat blindness and other forms of eye disease. He also aids the British Crown as a trade envoy, which requires him to travel all over the world.

Bob Barker

During his career in the U.S. Navy, Bob Barker flew eight different airplanes. He originally enlisted and then stayed at Drury College in Springfield, Missouri to complete the two years of college he needed to qualify to become a naval aviation cadet. Reporting for duty in June 1943, he was commissioned as an ensign and trained at eight different wartime locations over 18 months.

After the war ended, he returned to Drury college, where he graduated summa cum laude in economics. While there, he began working in radio, which led to his role in “Truth or Consequences” and then to “Price is Right,” where he was the host for thirty-five years. He’s long been a cultural icon and has guest-hosted a number of award shows and other events, including both Miss Universe and Miss USA from 1967 to 1987 and things such as WWE Raw and charitable events.

Carl Reiner

Funny man, actor, director, writer — let’s just say the whole package, Carl Reiner is best known for his show where he was the producer, writer, and actor of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” During the 1940s, the draft had all-hands-on-deck policy, and Reiner was drafted into the U.S. Army Air Force in 1943 where he rose to the rank of corporal. He was supposed to be a radio operator, but after contracting pneumonia, he was trained to be a French translator at Georgetown University.

That’s where he got his first experience with acting, putting on a play in French. When the training was completed, they shipped him to Hawaii to serve as a teleprinter operator, which is where he auditioned for the Special Services and became an actor in their productions. The next two years were spent entertaining troops throughout the Pacific theater and led directly into his acting career.

Dan Rather

Dan Rather has had a long-standing career in American journalism and was the news anchor for the CBS Evening News. Rather claims to have served in the US Marine Corps, but it seems this claim may have been used to serve his ego. Bernard Goldberg did some digging to find out the truth for his book, Bias. Coauthor, BG Burkett, says that during a conversation he had with Rather about a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece claiming Rather has a left-wing bias, he became noticeably angry.

“Rather’s voice started quivering, and he told me how in his young days, he had signed up with the Marines – not once, but twice!” he stated. According to Burkett, this is greatly exaggerated. Rather did serve, but he did not join the Marines twice. He was in the Army Reserve during the Korean War. When the Korean War ended Rather finished college and then signed up for the Marines, but never even made it to basic training.

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1950 and completed his training at Air Force bases in San Antonio, Texas. Cash was assigned to the U.S. Air Force Security Service in Germany as a Morse-code operator when he put together his first band, The Landsberg Barbarians. He served four years and was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant. Cash’s four daughters were born of his marriage to his first wife, Vivian, a native San Antonian who he met while in Air Force training.

After the military, he sold appliances in Memphis, Tennessee while playing  guitar in the evenings. Eventually, he auditioned at Sun Records and received a recording contract that included “Hey Porter” and “Cry! Cry! Cry!” The two songs were successful in the country genre and started him on the path to success. By 1958, he left Sun and signed with Columbia Records in exchange for more creative freedom (he wanted to be able to sing gospel music) and a higher royalty.

Henry Fonda

Henry Fonda started his acting career in 1925, when he was twenty years old. His mother’s friend recommended that he try out for a part in “You and I” at the Omaha Community Playhouse, and he continued on from there. He took on a number of small roles throughout the country until he made his break into film in 1935’s “The Farmer Takes a Wife,” playing the role of the husband which he had previously played on Broadway. The film was a success and he continued to act in a number of Hollywood films.

Henry Fonda enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a seaman during World War II, even though he was old enough by that point to avoid the draft, saying “I don’t want to be in a fake war in a studio.” He worked in operations and air combat intelligence, and earned a Bronze Star and a presidential citation for his bravery. He achieved the rank of lieutenant before his discharge in 1945.

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel)

Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, started his career working as an illustrator and cartoonist for “Vanity Fair,” “Life,” and other publications. He published his first children’s book in 1937.

When the World War II hit, Geisel felt pulled to put his projects for younger readers on the back shelf and work on political cartoons instead. He created satirical cartoons aimed at Adolf Hitler and American isolationists such as Charles Lindbergh who was trying to keep the U.S. out of war. Geisel stated, “While Paris was being occupied by the clanking tanks of the Nazis, and I was listening on my radio, I found that I could no longer keep my mind on drawing pictures of ‘Horton the Elephant.’ I found myself drawing pictures of ‘Lindbergh the Ostrich.’”

In 1943, Geisel joined the Army and was the commander of the Animation department of the First Motion Picture Unit in the Army Air Forces.  He worked to create training and propaganda films for the military throughout the war. After the war, of course, he returned to writing children’s books, including classics like “The Cat in the Hat,” “Horton Hears a Who,” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

Don Rickles

Don Rickles, the insult comedian extraordinaire known as “The Merchant of Venom,” was in the Navy at the end of World War II, from 1944 through his honorable discharge in 1946. A Seaman First Class on the USS Cyrene, he sailed from Norfolk, Virginia to Papua New Guinea as the ship escorted torpedo boats, followed by convoy duty in the Philippines. Rickles would later describe one deployment, “It was so hot and humid, the crew rotted.”

After leaving the military, he studied to be a dramatic actor but couldn’t find work. So, instead, he began working in comedy clubs, where he became famous for the insults he gave to hecklers and celebrities, including Frank Sinatra. He did have some serious films later in his career, including “Run Silent, Run Deep” with Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster. He was still doing shows around the US when he died of kidney failure in 2017 at the age of 90.

Ed McMahon

Ed McMahon’s famous quote “Here’s Johnny!” from the opening of “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” is a line forever etched in our memories. McMahon enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1941 and started flight training in Dallas. He then completed fighter training in Pensacola and obtained his landing qualification. For the next two years, he was a flight instructor until he received his orders to report to the Pacific Fleet. However, his transfer didn’t happen due to the two atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The war had ended, but McMahon continued his service as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. When the Korean War broke out, he was reinstated to active duty and flew a Cessna O-1 Bird Dog, an unarmed spotter plane. His military career spanned 25 years, and McMahon received six air medals and retired in 1966 with the rank of colonel.

Elvis Presley

During a time when Elvis’ rock & roll was being viewed as something far to provocative and outrageous, he did something surprising and enlisted in the United States Army. Although he was offered a cushy spot, safe housing, and a job entertaining the troops, he decided to enlist as a soldier just like everyone else. This earned him the respect of his fellow soldiers and others who had previously viewed him as a “detriment to society.” A lot happened while he served in Germany: his mom passed away, he met his future wife, Priscilla, and unfortunately began what would ultimately become a life-long dependency on drugs.

After his honorable discharge in 1960 at the rank of sergeant, he went back to producing music almost immediately. Within the month, he had recorded and released “Stuck on You,” which became a number-one hit. Two weeks later, he recorded “It’s Now or Never’ and “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” which also soared up the charts. It seems that his military service may have actually helped further his career, rather than putting a damper on it.

Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman has always loved acting but had dreams of becoming a fighter pilot. He even decided to turn down a drama scholarship to join the U.S. Air Force after high school. He ended up spending over three years in the service, but once he was in the cockpit of a fighter plane, he realized it was not what he wanted. Of his experience he told the AARP: “I had a distinct feeling I was sitting in the nose of a bomb. I had this very clear epiphany, ‘You are not in love with this; you are in love with the idea of this.’” He decided to leave the Air Force and pursue acting.

Freeman started in off-Broadway plays but moved into television with “Another World” and the children’s show “The Electric Company.” Over time, he picked up supporting roles in a variety of films. These tend to be his most famous roles, including playing God in “Bruce Almighty” and “Evan Almighty” and Lucius Fox in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.

Joe DiMaggio

Who hasn’t heard of Joe DiMaggio? He is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. The legend who married Marilyn Monroe also spent time in the Army during WW2. But he didn’t enter the battle ground at all, he spent his service time on bases around America where he was an athletics instructor. Already famous at that point, the Army decided that he would be more useful as an inspiration to others than as a soldier on the frontline.

When he returned to the Major Leagues after his discharge, he hadn’t lost his stride at all and soon became the first player to make more than $100,000 in a single season (more than $1 million in today’s dollars). He continued playing for a couple more years, but he announced his retirement in December of 1951 at the age of 37. He told “Sporting News,” “I was full of aches and pains and it had become a chore for me to play. When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game, and so, I’ve played my last game.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Before he was a governor. Before he was an actor. Before he was a bodybuilder, world-class Arnold Schwarzenegger served in the Austrian Army during 1965. This was not by choice, but due to a requirement at the time that all Austrian males who reached 18 serve one year. During his time in the Army, he actually won the Junior Mr. Europe Contest.

After the military, he continued competing as a bodybuilder, but he did his best to move into acting. While he had some minor roles, his breakthrough was “Conan the Barbarian” in 1982, which led to a string of action movies, including “Commando,” “Predator,” “Red Heat,” and “Terminator.” He used his stardom to drive his 2003 run for governor of California, where his victory in the Gray Davis recall election earned him the nickname “The Governator.” He did his best to hold a moderate Republican coalition together, which succeeded in winning his reelection in 2006 against fairly tough odds, given the political climate that year.

Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman was a famous Pro-American football player for the Arizona Cardinals who joined the army rangers after the September 11th attacks. He served with distinguishment in both tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. His unit came under fire in a canyon from enemy forces, and he was unfortunately killed in a friendly fire incident. His funeral was surrounded by controversy as the army did not reveal the incident until after the televised event as to not tarnish his reputation as a war hero. He was posthumously awarded a promotion to corporal, a purple heart, and the silver star.

John Glenn

John Glenn is most famous for being the first US astronaut to orbit the Earth, having ultimately completed three orbits in 1962. As a US Marine pilot, Glenn was selected in 1959 for Project Mercury Astronaut Training. He was initially the backup pilot for Alan Shepard and Virgil “Gus” Grissom, who both made the first orbital flights. Glenn completed his three orbital flights around the Earth aboard the Friendship 7. After serving both the Marines and Nasa, Glenn ran for the US Senate and served as a Senator from the state of Ohio.

Kirk Douglas

Izzy Demsky took the name Kirk Douglas just before he joined the Navy in 1941, shortly after the U.S. entered World War II. He served in anti-submarine warfare as a gunnery and communications officer. Douglas suffered abdominal injuries as the result of the dropping of an accidental depth charge, and he was subsequently medically discharged in 1944.

Mickey Rooney

John Glenn is most famous for being the first US astronaut to orbit the Earth, having ultimately completed three orbits in 1962. As a US Marine pilot, Glenn was selected in 1959 for Project Mercury Astronaut Training. He was initially the backup pilot for Alan Shepard and Virgil “Gus” Grissom, who both made the first orbital flights. Glenn completed his three orbital flights around the Earth aboard the Friendship 7. After serving both the Marines and Nasa, Glenn ran for the US Senate and served as a Senator from the state of Ohio.

Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone joined the Army in 1967 and specifically requested combat duty. He fought in Vietnam and was wounded in action twice, earning the Bronze Star with “V” device, which he received after conducting “extraordinary acts of courage under fire,” and a Purple Heart with one Oak Leaf Cluster. His movie “Platoon” was heavily influenced by his combat experiences in Vietnam.

Tony Curtis

Tony Curtis was an American actor famous for movies in the 1950s and 1960s. However before he became famous in Hollywood, he served in the U.S. Navy. He enlisted in the Navy after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, where he was inspired by Cary Grant’s role in the 1943 film “Destination Tokyo” to join the Pacific submarine force. He was even at Tokyo for the surrender of the Japanese and was able to witness it from the signal bridge of his submarine. He went on to study acting using the GI Bill once he was discharged.

Jesse Ventura

Jesse Ventura is a former professional wrestling and media personality who had distinguished career as a member of the U.S. Navy underwater demolition team during the Vietnam war. He did not see any active combat. He was frequently referred to as a Navy Seal, but he never completed the final training to become an actual Seal. He left the Navy and Vietnam in 1975 and started to build up his career as a wrestler from there.

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi did not enter the military because he wanted to; after getting busted for stealing a car, he was given a choice – the US Army or prison. He enlisted and got assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. Jimi expressed his feelings about serving in the army in a letter to his dad, “There’s nothing but physical training and harassment here for two weeks, then when you go to jump school, that’s when you get hell. They work you to DEATH, fussing and fighting.” His struggles were many, but thankfully he didn’t serve long. He was honorably discharged after one year due to an ankle injury sustained during a jump.

George Carlin

George Carlin was a member of the U.S. Air Force but apparently had a rough time in the military. He was stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana as a radar technician. He was court martialed three times and received a general discharge, but his work as a disc jockey while on active duty was the jump start for his entertainment career.

Bob Ross

For those of you who know Bob Ross, then you’ve probably seen, heard, or even tried to place a few of those simple trees in your own artwork. Maybe you’ve found yourself deep in trances by his soothing soft voice. You may have even heard him mention stays in Alaska. Do you know why? One thing for sure, I bet many of you never pegged Bob Ross to have served in the military, nonetheless climb the ranks of the Air Force to achieve Master Sergeant, where yes he screamed, yelled, and drilled in some of the most demanding ways. No longer wanting to be "that guy,” Ross found himself starting his world renowned show shortly after leaving the service.

Buster Keaton

Buster Keaton, drafted into the 40th Infantry Division in 1917, was already active in vaudeville when he entered the Army. He continued to perform vaudeville while he was in the service– his “Snake Dance,” in which he “charmed” a rope of sausage links, became a popular, frequently-requested act. This act was so well-received by one general that he lent his car and driver to Keaton. He had the driver stop at a party of his enlisted buddies and because of the general’s insignia on the car, Keaton’s pals thought they getting a surprise inspection.

J.R.R. Tolkien

J.R.R. Tolkien was an English poet and writer, best known for his fantastical works, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” Tolkien is a war veteran and served with the British Expeditionary Force during World War I as Second Lieutenant in the 11th Battalion. He saw many bloody battles, including the Battle of Somme. Ultimately his poor health would end his war days. Tolkien was sent home after he contracted a chronic fever from lice that infested him.

Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson is a well-known movie star and musician. What is less known is that he has an impressive military career. Kristofferson identifies as a “military brat” since he traveled around a lot as a kid due to his dad’s military career. His father, Lars Kristofferson, was an Air Corps officer in the US Army. Kris got a degree from Pomona College and earned a scholarship to the prestigious Oxford University, but his parents pressured him into joining the army and marrying his high school sweetheart.

He enlisted in 1960, becoming a helicopter pilot after completing Ranger School. He was offered a teaching position at West Point but turned it down so he could focus on his music. His family looked down on his decision to leave the Army and ultimately disowned him for it. Here is how he feels about our troops today: “I want you to know I’m an Army brat; I was a captain in the Army and my brother was a jet pilot in the Navy. So I support our troops; I identify with them. But I sure as hell don’t identify with the bastards who sent them over there.”

Kurt Vonnegut

The author of “Slaughterhouse Five,” an anti-war novel with elements of science fiction, served in the Army during World War II as an infantry battalion scout. Vonnegut was taken as a prisoner of war and survived the firebombing of Dresden, Germany by the Allied forces. His experiences as a POW were the inspiration for “Slaughterhouse Five” as well as other of his works.

Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier was an English actor best known for stage and film. He won Academy Award, Golden Globe, Emmy, and BAFTA. When World War II started, Olivier wanted to join the Royal Air Force, but he was already obligated to other parties. Olivier served for two years as a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm but was never called into battle.

Gene Wilder

Drafted into the Army in 1956, Jerome Silberman (Wilder’s real name) trained for service in the medical corps. He was working as a paramedic at Valley Forge Army Hospital in Pennsylvania when he began taking acting classes. After his honorable discharge in 1958, Jerome Silberman changed his name to Gene Wilder and went on to star in a number of comedies, notably teaming up with director Mel Brooks in “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein.”

Sidney Poitier

You may know him as the first black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. Sidney Poitier moved to the US at age 16 from the Bahamas. He lived in New York City and desperately wanted to escape the bitter winters of the northeast. He lied about his age so he could enlist in the United States Army where he served as a medical attendant in a mental hospital. Still a kid, he soon grew tired of that role, but instead of just admitting his age, he decided to try and get discharged by faking insanity. With the threat of shock treatment, he came clean. After talking to a psychiatrist for several weeks, he was eventually granted release from the Army.

Richard Pryor

Funny man Richard Pryor did not have what you’d call a typical stint in the Army. Pryor spent most of his time behind bars for stabbing a white soldier who got a little too enthusiastic over a racially charged scene in a film they were watching. However, compared to his childhood this may have seemed like a walk in the park. As a young child, Richard was the victim of sexual abuse. Left by his alcoholic mother at the age of ten, he was raised at his grandmother’s brothel. During that time he was also expelled from school.

Robin Quivers

Robin Quivers, the co-host of the Howard Stern show is also a former Air Force Captain. She originally had qualified with a nursing degree from the University of Maryland, but believed that she could put her degree to better use so she join the United States Air Force. After three years she reached the rank of captain before being discharged on month later. Quivers remained a member of the US Air Force Reserves until 1990 but was never recalled. She returned to Baltimore before taking her first job in radio as a newscast reader in Pennsylvania. When Howard Stern show was looking for a straight personality to balance out his zaniness, they heard her audition and hired her immediately.


Remember Shaggy, the reggae singer from the 90s? Before we danced to his hits “Bombastic” and “It Wasn’t Me,” he served as part of the 10th Marine Regiment in the United States Marine Corps. Having moved to the US from Jamaica at 18, he found some early success with his music, but when it proved difficult to keep the success going, he signed up for the Marines. Two years after joining, the Gulf War broke out and in 1991 he was deployed to Kuwait. The war sobered him up and helped him focus. He dedicated himself to his music and in 1993 released his debut album. Soon after, he enjoyed the peak of his success during the mid 1990s through 2000.

Michael Caine

Perhaps so we can truly appreciate the lives we have, British Actor Michael Caine believes we should all serve at least six months in the military. Caine was drafted into the British Army during the Korean War. He spent time on the front lines and almost lost his life. After contracting Malaria, he was medically discharged and headed home to London to pursue acting. Turns out this offered him the experience he needed for his very first movie role. He got his big break playing a British Army Private in a war movie called, “A Hill in Korea.”

Montel Williams

Actor and television talk show host, Montel Williams had an extremely impressive career in the US military. Montel served from 1974-1996. He was the first black enlisted Marine to graduate from both the Academy Prep School and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. While at Annapolis he earned his degree in general engineering with a minor in International Security Affairs. He also studied Mandarin Chinese. He went on to be a lieutenant and was honorably discharged after 22 years of service from both the US Marine Corps and the US Navy.

Johnny Carson

The famous Tonight Show Host enlisted in the United States Navy as an apprentice seaman enrolled in the V-5 program. At the height of World War II, he felt he needed to serve his country and be a part of the American front. He was assigned as a member of the crew on the USS Pennsylvania. He had hoped to be trained as a Navy Pilot but was instead sent for midshipman training at Columbia University. Always an entertainer, he preformed magic for his classmates on the side.

Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway wanted to enlist in the Army during World War I, but his vision was too poor. The future Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner was, however, accepted as a volunteer ambulance driver for the Red Cross and sailed for Europe in May 1918. Hemingway ended up in Italy, where he drove ambulances and gave out candy and cigarettes to Italian soldiers on the front lines. A few weeks after his arrival in Italy, a mortar shell exploded near the eighteen-year-old Hemingway, gravely wounding him. Many of his stories were based on his experiences in World War I, the Spanish Civil War, and World War II.

Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman enlisted in the United States Marine Corps at the age of sixteen. He would later say while he was an actor, “I have trouble with direction, because I have trouble with authority. I was not a good Marine.” Hackman’s first duty assignment was in China, where he moonlighted as a disc jockey and newscaster on his unit’s radio station. A few times he left his post without permission—earning him three demotions. So, yes, Hackman was probably “not a good Marine.”

Mel Brooks

Funnyman Mel Brooks served our country during World War II. He was drafted before he had the chance to finish his degree. Known then as Melvin Kaminsky, he joined the Army Corps of Engineers. He was a Corporal in the 1104 Engineer Combat Battalion. As a combat engineer his job was a dangerous and important one; duties included deactivating enemy land mines. When Mel saw combat in the Battle of the Bulge, it is said that the Nazis were blasting Axis propaganda over the airways. True to form, legend has it that Mel responded by blasting his rendition of Al Jolson’s “Toot Toot Tootsie.”

Humphrey Bogart

“Bogie” was struck in the mouth by a prisoner while he was assigned to the military police in the U.S. Navy during World War I. The injury left left his mouth scarred and gave him a subtle lisp. With his naturally raspy voice, though, the scar and lisp enhanced the tough guy-gangster image in which he was typecast for much of his movie career. Humphrey Bogart started acting in the theater–but the “tough guy” had such bad stage fright, he ran off the stage in the middle of a performance!

Fred Durst

You know Fred as the former lead singer for the metal rock band, Limp Bizkit. This groundbreaking musician and film director also served in the US Navy. He joined the military straight out of high school and was discharged after 2 years at the age of twenty. He moved home after his release where he mowed lawns and pursued tattoo artistry before getting the idea to start a band. He had a unique idea to combine the elements of rock and hip-hop. Fred played with three bands prior to becoming a founding member of the very successful Limp Bizkit.

Hugh Hefner

Hugh is best known as the man behind “Playboy Magazine,” but before starting the now infamous publication, he was quite successful in a completely different role. He enlisted in the US Army fresh out of high school and began his military career as an infantry clerk. While in Basic Training, he won a sharpshooter badge. His writing and art skills were also put to use as he created cartoons for Army newspapers. Upon release from the Army, he received his Bachelor’s degree and went on to make his mark in the publishing world as a copywriter for Esquire Magazine. Hefner created the word “centerfold” – adding a brand new noun to the English language, and his magazine and lifestyle would ultimately take the world by storm, leaving a lasting impression on millions.

Mr. T

Mr T, from the famous TV-show the A-team, real name Laurence Tureaud, was more than a disgraced mercenary working from a black van. In fact, he was actually a Military Police Corps Officer. During his training, he was punished with wood cutting detail by his CO but not told how many trees he should cut. In three and a half hours he successfully chopped more than 70 trees. This level of commitment got him promoted to squad leader. He was eventually honorably discharged from the Army and became a bodyguard for $3,000 a night, before being spotted by Sylvester Stallone who placed him in his star-launching film, Rocky III.

Danny Aiello

Danny Aiello, an American actor famous for his role in “The Godfather Part Two,” also had a surprising military career in the Korean war. He lied to join the military when he was 16 and was instantly shipped to Germany where he spent 28 months serving the military on an army base. Once his service ended he went on to be a union representative for Greyhound buses and then eventually became a bouncer at a comedy club, which lead onto his acting career.

Sammy Davis Jr.

Sammy Davis Jr. was a African-American singer, musician, and actor. Noting his skills during World War II, the army assigned the seventeen-year-old to an integrated entertainment unit, designed to entertain soldiers who are serving overseas. Upon his return to America, his experience overseas was reflected in this work, which led to a position in the Rat Pack lead by his friend Frank Sinatra. He has revealed in his biography that he always suffered racism, especially while serving the military, being beaten and called derogatory names, but found power through his performances.

John Kerry

John Kerry, the US politician who ran unsuccessfully for the United States president in 2004, also had a military career that took place in the Vietnam war. He originally joined the U.S. Navy but requested to be placed in a swift boat division, rapid boats that could travel up the Vietnamese rivers to disrupt the Vietcong supply lines. During his service he won one Silver star, one bronze star and three purple hearts. As he had been wounded three times he was allowed to be honourable discharge from the war early, but not before reaching the rank of Lieutenant.

James Garner

James Garner, whose real name was James Scott Bumgarner, was a prolific actor and award-winning Hollywood Star who also served in the Merchant Marines in the Korean War. He dropped out of high school during the tail end of World War II and lied about his age to join the Merchant Marines in supplying aid to Europe. After the war ended, he returned to finish high school before dropping out a second time to join the Oklahoma National Guard. As luck would have it, he was drafted to serve in the Korean War where he was awarded two purple hearts. He eventually left the army and moved back to California where he found his love of acting.

Harvey Korman

Harvey Korman was a famous American comedy actor who worked for many years in the American television industry. He was also a United States Navy Reserve Seaman First Class. He originally signed up during the very end of World War II, serving between 1945 and 1946 before being dismissed and making his way to study drama in Chicago. He later went on to be nominated for six Emmy awards and won four. He also picked up a Golden Globe. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 2002.

Roberto Clemente

Roberto Clemente was a famous American baseball player who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates between 1955 to 1972. But what many people don’t know is that he was also a Marine. Back in the 1950s, many baseball players would spend the winter in Puerto Rico practising and honing their skills, but Roberto actually enlisted the United States Marine Corps Reserves as an infantryman. He found that his Marine service rigorously prepared his body and kept him much more fit than he would’ve been had he just trained. He had to leave the military 1964 when his team was preparing to win the World Series.

Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy definitely belongs that on this list, as he was not only a very famous Hollywood actor but also very famous war hero. He served in nine World War II campaigns in the US Army. Before his 20th birthday, he had received every single army combat award for valour that was available at the time. He is widely considered to be America’s most decorated World War II soldier and was the epitome of a war hero when he returned to the States at the end of World War II.

He geared up in 1950 to return to the battlefield in the Korean War, but at the same time his acting career started to heat up. The army decided to keep him as a recruitment tool and use his fame to recruit more soldiers. He would retire with the rank of major.

Jack Lemmon

Jack Lemmon was a famous US actor who won two Academy Awards and also served for a brief time in United States Navy during World War II. During the war, he was an ensign serving as a communications officer on an aircraft carrier but never saw any action. After the Navy, he returned to California where he proceeded to star in many roles building up the acting career that we know today. In one of his very first roles he played a U.S. Navy sailor, starring alongside Judy Holiday in the film “The Lady Takes a Sailor.”

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell is an actor who is best known for his role as Captain B.J. Hunnicutt on the hit TV show M*A*S*H. He also served in the United States Marine Corps at Camp Hansen, Okinawa, but did not see any action. In his spare time outside of acting, he is also political activist, fighting for human rights and objecting to the death penalty.

Randy Couture

Randy Couture, a famous UFC fighter, also served in the US Army in the famous 101st airborne. He served for six years and reached the rank of Sergeant. Whilst in the Army, he tried out various different wrestling activities, but due to an error was actually put onto the professional team and then went on to perform at three Olympics. He eventually became a wrestling coach at Oregon State University which led him to decide to pursue a career in mixed martial arts fighting and start competing in the UFC.

Regis Philbin

Regis Philbin is a famous media personality, most popular for his role as the host of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and also served in the United States Navy supply office. His role was to manage the supplies for the various vessels and crafts of the entire U.S. Navy, and he served for two years before getting a job as an assistant on “The Tonight Show” in 1956. He has one of the highest daytime Emmy nominations at 24 (with six wins) as well the Lifetime Achievement award. He’s still an essential cornerstone of American television today.

Kurt Russell

Kurt Russell is a Hollywood star and household name who also served in the California Air National Guard. The base that he served on has actually been nicknamed the Hollywood Air Force Base by other Air Force Bases in America because of the many actors who have worked there and the large number of films and TV shows that have been filmed on the location. The base shut down in 1985 as the Air National Guard looked for a new location, with the land returning to the city of Hollywood.

Rob Riggie

Rob Riggie is a famous American comedy actor and has appeared in many recent Hollywood comedy films, such as “21 Jump Street,” “The Hangover,” and “The Other Guys.” He was also a Marine, who joined the service in 1990 with the intent of getting a pilot’s license and becoming a naval aviator. He dropped out when his acting career took off, however he did actually become a member of the United States Marine Corps Reserve and did a tour of duty to Iraq in 2007 to entertain troops as part of the USO.

George Reeves

George Reeves is most famous for his role as the titular character in “The Adventures of Superman.” He put his acting career on hold to enlist in the army during World War II. However the army put him into acting work, joining the special theatrical unit producing several training films on dangers such as venereal diseases. He returned back to Hollywood in 1946 and decided to focus on television where he became typecast in the Superman role.

Gerald Ford

Gerald Ford is famously known as the president who took over from Richard Nixon and became the 38th President of the United States. He also served in the US Navy Reserve as a Navy pre-flight instructor and he taught elementary navigation skills, first aid, gunnery, and military drill. He asked for more action and was assigned in 1943 to the USS Monterey, where he served as assistant navigator. He almost died in a typhoon storm in 1944 when the ship tilted 25° and he almost slipped overboard. He was active in the Navy reserve until 1963 before deciding to move into politics.

Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter, the former President of the United States, had a very distinguished Navy career before moving into politics. He served as a Luton junior grade on a submarine and served several duties as an executive officer. He was in a prime position to join the U.S. Navy’s nuclear submarine program, but his career was cut short when his father passed away, and he retired from the military at the rank of Lieutenant in 1961. He would then spend the next couple years working on his parents’ peanut farm, before he would decide to get into politics.

Berry Gordy

Berry Gordy was the famous Record executive who created the label Motown. At the age of 16, he gave up his fledgling boxing career to join the US Army fighting in the Korean War. He used his discharge pay to open a record shop that heavily featured jazz albums. When this business was not successful he soon discovered that the easiest way to make money was to produce his own records and thus Motown was born. But this whole journey could not have started without his experience in the military and the financial foundation that it gave him upon his return to the United States.