One of the most patriotic things you can do is volunteer to protect and serve America as a member of one of our military branches. There are countless notable names in entertainment and the music industry who have served alongside their fellow Americans over the years from rapper Ice-T to actor Adam Driver.
We've rounded up 15 of the most famous veterans who you may not have realized served in the American armed forces.
1. Chuck Norris
Before he was a martial arts expert starring in Walker Texas Ranger, Chuck Norris served in the United States Air Force as an Air Policeman in South Korea. It was actually overseas where he started studying martial arts and brought the practice back to California where he developed his own technique.
2. Elvis Presley
It was a major media frenzy when The King was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1958. After attending basic training, he served overseas in Germany which was where he met his future wife, Priscilla. He served as a soldier for two years before coming back to the states and resuming his career.
3. Kris Kristofferson
Actor and country singer Kris Kristofferson joined the Army and was stationed in West Germany in the 60s. He formed a band overseas and continued working on his music, ultimately moving to Nashville to pursue a career in 1965. Years later, he received the Veteran of the Year Award at the 2003 American Veterans Awards.
4. Paul Newman
Before he was a household name, Paul Newman served in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theater during World War II. As we know, he went on to become an Academy Award-winning actor who appeared in some of the most classic western films of all time.
5. Bea Arthur
Long before Bea Arthur was making us laugh as Dorothy Zbornak on The Golden Girls, she served her country in the United States Marine Corps Women's Reserve. She apparently spent her time working as a truck driver and typist.
6. Morgan Freeman
Initially, beloved actor Morgan Freeman had no interest in acting but dreamed of serving in the U.S. Air Force. After serving from 1955-1959, he ultimately decided to move out to Los Angeles to pursue a career in Hollywood.
7. Tom Selleck
After being drafted during the Vietnam War, Tom Selleck joined the California National Guard. He earned the rank of Sargeant and earned multiple ribbons during his service.
8. Steve McQueen
Not even 18 years old, Steve McQueen enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps with his mother's permission. He has credited that time in his life for turning him into a man and was even able to serve in a special unit guarding the presidential yacht of US President Harry Truman. After receiving an honorable discharge, he pursued an acting career.
9. Alan Alda
Before he was starring on M*A*S*H, Alan Alda served in the United States Army Reserve during the Vietnam War.
10. Clint Eastwood
Oscar-winning filmmaker Clint Eastwood was drafted into the Army during the Korean War. He served as a swimming instructor at Fort Ord in California.
11. Johnny Cash
After serving for four years in the Air Force, Johnny Cash moved to Memphis and started making a name for himself in the music world. Pretty soon he'd become one of the most iconic country singers of all time.
12. Humphrey Bogart
Humphrey Bogart apparently served in the U.S. Navy after he was kicked out of school. While school may have not been his thing, he did go on to become a legendary actor and Oscar winner.
13. James Garner
Towards the end of WWII, James Garner served in the Marines. He then enlisted in the California Army National Guard during the Korean War and was awarded the purple heart award.
14. Mel Brooks
After high school, filmmaker Mel Brooks enlisted in the Army Specialized Training Program and served in WWII.
15. Johnny Carson
Even beloved talk show host is a veteran! Before he was making audiences around the world laugh, Johnny Carson served in the Navy, stationed throughout the Pacific.
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