November 18, 2019
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There are many famous people who served in the United States military. Some were drafted, some
had the choice between jail or service, and some felt
the call and volunteered. From World War Two to 9/11 and beyond, these celebrities served their country before they became
famous. Except for Elvis. Elvis was always a star. In no particular order,
these are 10 celebrities who served in the United
States Armed Forces. Number 10, Kris Kristofferson,
United States Army. Before he was a recording artist, Kris Kristofferson,under
pressure from his family and following in the footsteps
of his Air Force General father before him, joined
the United States Army. Kristofferson trained as
a Ranger and a helicopter pilot, eventually reaching
the rank of Captain while stationed in Germany,
but then he received orders to West Point to teach English. He chose to separate
from the army to pursue a music career instead,
but served in the Tennessee National Guard when he
needed to make ends meet. It was during that time
when he infamously stole a helicopter and landed it
on Johnny Cash’s lawn. A bold move that would pay off
when Cash, a fellow veteran, recorded Kristofferson’s song and began an epic musical friendship. In 2003 he was presented with
the Veteran of the Year award at the eighth annual
American Veterans’ Awards. Number nine, Kurt Vonnegut,
United States Army. Kurt Vonnegut enlisted in the United States Army during World War Two. In 1944, then Private
First Class Vonnegut was captured by the Nazis during
the Battle of the Bulge. He, along with boxcars full
of fellow POWs, were taken to the German city of
Dresden and forced to work until the city was fire
bombed by the allies. Vonnegut and a few other
survived the devastation in what looked like a
different, horrifying new world. ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ is
named after the underground bunker in which he waited out the bombing. The book is the story of a
mon who became unstuck in time floating back to the past
at seemingly random moments. It has become one of the most
famous PTSD flashback stories and one of the most
banned books of all time. Number eight, Jimi Hendrix,
United States Army. Jimi Hendrix, one of rock’s
greatest guitar players, served a brief 13 month
stint with the famed US Army’s 101st air
born division, nicknamed the Screaming Eagles, just
a few years before his epic rise to rock stardom in the late 60s. Hendrix wanted to enlist as a musician but had no formal music training so he opted for the 101st
Airborne Division instead. Months after joining the Screaming Eagles, life as a paratrooper began
to wear on Hendrix’s morale. He was constantly reprimanded
for dereliction of duties. Jimi just wanted to play his guitar. His days as a paratrooper came
to an end on his 26th jump when he broke his ankle. Hendrix began exploring the
Fort Campbell area nightlife before venturing down to nearby Nashville where he began jamming
with local blues men. It was in that vibrant music
scene where he met fellow service member and bassist, Billy Cox. In September 1963, after Cox
was discharged from the Army, Hendrix and Cox formed a
band called the King Casuals. But it was later in New
York City where Hendrix would catch a break that would help him become the rockstar he’s
remembered as today. Number seven, Elvis
Presley, United States Army. After one deferment to complete
the film ‘King Creole,’ Elvis Aaron Presley reported
for US Army basic training at Fort Hood on March 24,
1958 where he was assigned to the 2nd Armored Division’s
‘Hell on Wheels’ unit. His induction was a major
event that attracted fans and media attention. After basic, Presley
sailed to Europe aboard the USS General Randall to serve with the 3rd Armored Division
in Friedberg, Germany. By March 1960, Sgt Presley
finished his military commitment and received
an honorable discharge from active duty. Reflecting on his
service, Presley once told Armed Forces Radio and
Television that he was determined to go to any
limits to prove himself. And he did. Though his career as an artist
was never too far from reach. Shortly after returning
to the United States, he shot the film ‘GI Blues,’
a musical comedy where Presley played a tank crewman
with a singing career. Number six, Montel Williams,
United States Marine Corps and United States Navy. Talk show host Montel
Williams enlisted in the United States Marines after high school & completed basic training at
Parris Island, South Carolina before going to the Desert
Warfare Training Center at Twentynine Palms, California. There he impressed his superiors
with his leadership skills and was recommended for the
Naval Academy Preparatory School at Newport, Rhode Island. He was then accepted into the
US Naval Academy at Annapolis. Upon graduation he became
a cryptologic officer for the United States Navy. He served in Guam before
transferring to the Defense Language Institute
in Monterey, California, where he studied Russian for
a year before putting his linguistic skills to use for
the National Security Agency. He served aboard submarines
for three years before he decided to separate from the
military and pursue public and motivational speaking full time. Number five, Adam Driver,
United States Marine Corps. Adam Driver, perhaps best
known for his portrayal of Kylo Ren in the Star Wars
franchise, enlisted in the United States Marine
Corps and became an infantry mortarman after the 9/11 attacks. He was stationed at Camp
Pendleton with 81’s platoon Weapons Company, 1st
Battalion, 1st Marines and was training for his first
deployment when he sustained an injury that would result
in a medical discharge. After his service Driver
founded a nonprofit organization called Arts in the Armed Forces
which brings high-quality arts programming to active
duty service members, veterans, military support staff, and
their families around the world free of charge with the
intention of bridging the divide between civilians and the military. Of his military career
Driver once said, quote “In the military you learn
the essence of people. You see so many examples of
self-service and moral courage. In the rest of life you don’t
get that many opportunities to be sure of your friends.” End quote. Number four, Bob Ross,
United States Air Force. Robert Norman Ross, better
known as the friendly painter Bob Ross, enlisted in
the Air Force at age 18 and he would go on to serve for 20 years. While stationed in Alaska,
Florida-native Ross saw snow and mountains for the
first time, which would influence his serene
landscape choices as he began his prolific painting career. It might be surprising
to know that while in the Air Force Ross became a drill instructor. Quote, “I was the guy who
makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make
your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late to
work. The job requires you to be a mean, tough person,
and I was fed up with it. I promised myself that if
I ever got away from it I wasn’t going to be that
way anymore.” End quote. True to his word, he
developed the Joy of Painting, his famous program where
he taught others to paint with the uplifting and
soft-spoken demeanor that has become famous around the world. Number three, Bea Arthur,
United States Marine Corps. The late Bea Arthur
served as a truck driver in the US Marine Corps. She enlisted into the women’s reservists during World War Two at the age of 21 under her maiden name, Bernice Frankel. A handwritten letter of hers states, quote “I was supposed to start work yesterday, but heard last week that
enlistments for women in the Marines were open so decided
the only thing to do was join.” End quote. She was stationed at US
Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. She was honorably discharged after the war at the rank of staff
sergeant and she would marry a fellow marine, Private Robert Aurthur, and go on to have a
successful career in the arts. Any fan of Arthur’s incisive
Dorothy on Golden Girls will not be surprised to
hear that Arthur’s enlistment interviewer described her as
“argumentative, and officious, but probably a good worker
if she has her own way.” Number two, Jackie Robinson,
United States Army. Jackie Robinson was drafted
to the United States Army in 1942 where he was
assigned to a segregated Army cavalry unit before applying
to Officer Candidate School. His application was delayed
due to the color of his skin but after protest by heavy
weight boxing champion Joe Lewis he was accepted. He commissioned as a second
lieutenant in January 1943. In August 1944 he would face
court martial for refusing to give up his seat on a
bus near Camp Hood, Texas, a segregated location
known for its racism. On July 6, 1944, Robinson
took a seat on a civilian bus next to a white woman on Camp Hood and the driver ordered him to
move to the back of the bus. Robinson refused and the military police were called to arrest him. Angry from his treatment and
frustrated at the rampant discrimination on the post,
Robinson refused to wait for the MPs in the
Provost Martial’s Office and was escorted to the
hospital under guard and under protest. He was charged with two
accounts of insubordination. His defense would win out however, and Robinson was freed. He medically retired from
service due to a bone chip in his ankle and would
go on to become the first African-American to play
in Major League Baseball. Number one, Rob Riggle,
United States Marine Corps. Rob Riggle served in the
United States Marine Corps for over 20 years. After graduating from
the University of Kansas he went through Officer Candidate School. Though he originally had the intention of becoming a pilot he realized
that he wanted to pursue comedy so he became a public
affairs officer instead. After his active duty service
commitment was complete, he transitioned into the
reserves for 14 more years so he could pursue comedy
and acting full time. Riggle served in Liberia,
Kosovo, and Afghanistan during his time in the service. Now retired, he continues to
help the veteran community through initiatives like
his Rob Riggle InVETational Golf Classic, a veteran
celebrity golf tournament that raises money and awareness
for veteran non-profits like Semper Fi Fund, an
organization that assists service members and their families. That’s our list. Leave us a comment and let
us know who your favorite celebrity veteran is.

Tony wyaad

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