Wednesday, November 11, 2015


In honor of Veteran's Day and the men and women that have given their lives for us through the years, I wanted to list some of the classic Hollywood stars that have served their country so bravely...

Humphrey Bogart: Sailor, U.S. Navy
He enrolled at age 18 after being expelled from prep school and was, according to naval records, a model sailor who spent most of his months after World War I ended ferrying troops back from Europe. Bogart supposedly got his trademark scar from a shrapnel wound while at sea, leading to his characteristic lisp.

Ronald Reagan: Captain, U.S. Army
Reagan enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve during peacetime (1937) and was already a Second Lieutenant when war broke out. He reported for active duty in 1942. His nearsightedness prevented him from serving overseas, however, and he spent the war doing armed forces PR in Culver City, California.

Jimmy Stewart: Brigadier General, U.S. Army
Having enlisted before Pearl Harbor, Stewart was the first major American movie star to don a uniform in World War II. An avid pilot, Stewart already had his pilot's license and hours of pre-war flying experience. After he began flying combat missions, he was quickly promoted to Major and then Colonel, eventually becoming a Brigadier General after the war in the Reserves.

Clark Gable: Major, U.S. Army Air Corps
Enlisted after the tragic death of wife Carole Lombard in 1942. Spent most of the war in the U.K. making recruiting films on "special assignment." He did fly some combat missions, however, and earned a few medals. Adolf Hitler was a fan, sort of: He offered a price on Gable's head if anyone captured him, unharmed.

Henry Fonda: Quartermaster, U.S. Navy
Enlisted at the peak of his career in 1942, declaring, "I don't want to be in a fake war in a studio." Served for three years on the destroyer USS Satterlee and was later commissioned as a Lt. Junior Grade in Air Combat Intelligence and was awarded a Presidential Citation and the Bronze Star.

Paul Newman: Radioman/Gunner, U.S. Navy
Enrolled in a Navy program, hoping to become a pilot, but was ineligible due to color-blindness. He instead became a radioman and gunner, stationed to torpedo bombers in Hawaii in 1944. He was on the USS Bunker Hill during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific theater.

Kirk Douglas: Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
In his autobiography 'The Ragman's Son,' Douglas related that he applied for the Air Force, but failed their psychological test. He was able to join the Navy despite less-than-perfect eyesight, and became a Communications Officer in antisubmarine warfare. He received a medical discharge for war injuries in 1944.

George C. Scott: Guard/Instructor, U.S. Marines
Scott served the USMC from 1945 until 1949, and was assigned to the 8th and I Barracks in Washington, D.C, where he served as a guard at Arlington National Cemetery (a duty that drove him to drink, he said years later). He also taught English literature at the Marine Corps Institute.

Gene Hackman: Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps
In 1946 at 16 (he lied about his age), the future 'Unforgiven' star left home to join the Marines, where he reportedly served four-and-a-half years as a field radio operator.  Hackman's stint included assignments in China, Japan and Hawaii. His first showbiz gig was as a DJ on the Armed Forces Network.

Steve McQueen: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps
Joined up in 1947 and was quickly promoted to Private First Class, but -- much in keeping with his future tough-guy film image -- was demoted seven times due to insubordination. He also spent 41 days in the brig for going AWOL to be with his girlfriend. He eventually shaped up, saving the lives of five other Marines, and was honorably discharged in 1950.

Clint Eastwood: Swimming Instructor, U.S. Army
Drafted in 1950, during the Korean War. He was stationed at Fort Ord in California, where, thanks to his lifeguard training, he served as a swimming instructor. He saw the most action on leave: In 1951, a bomber he was in crashed in the ocean near Point Reyes. He and the pilot swam three miles to shore, a more-than-adequate prep for his role in 'Escape From Alcatraz.'

James Earl Jones: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army
During college, he joined the Reserve Officer Training Corps and became a cadet in the Pershing Rifles Drill Team. Although the Korean War was underway, Jones wasn't activated until 1953. He says he was "washed out" of Ranger training and was instead sent to establish a cold weather training unit in Colorado...


1 comment:

  1. Great idea for a post on this day. Its hard to pay tribute to all actor veterans, but there are two others that stand out:
    Lee Marvin served as a Marine in WWII,serving with the 4th Marine Division in the Pacific. He was wounded in action during the Battle of Saipan, in the assault on Mount Tapochau.Most of his unit ("I" Company, 3rd Battalion, 24th Marines, 4th Marine Division) were killed.His injury was from machine gun fire. Marvin was given a medical discharge with the rank of Private First Class in 1945. His awards were the Purple Heart, the Presidential Unit Citation, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal.