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Some Of Our Favorite Male Celebrities Who Also Served In The U.S. Military

On Veterans Day, we take a look at many famous figures who started out by serving their country.

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Today is Veterans Day, a day Americans devote to thanking those who have served in a branch of the United States military. The day falls on November 11, which is the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and the Central Power in 1918.

And though we likely all know someone who has severed, you might not know that many celebrities got their start in the military. The military provides a steady paycheck for those who are not yet selling out shows and some much-needed discipline required to live on the road.

So in honor of Veterans Day, take a look at some celebs who served.

Elvis Presley

American singer and actor Elvis Presley, aka “The King”, posing during his military service at a US base in Germany. (Vittoriano Rastelli/Corbis via Getty Images)

Branch: Army

The “King of Rock ‘n’ Roll” answered his nation’s call to duty during the peak of his popularity, serving from 1958 to 1960 with the 3rd Armored Division in Friedberg, Germany.

Clint Eastwood

Director Clint Eastwood served in the Army. (Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Branch: Army

Long before he became famous playing “Gunny” Tom Highway in Heartbreak Ridge, Eastwood served at a real-life post in Northern California for most of his brief military career.

Jimi Hendrix

Photo credit: Creative Commons, Evan Clark

Branch: Army

In 1961, Hendrix joined the Army after being given the ultimatum to choose between it and jail for joyriding in stolen cars in Seattle. He served with the 101st Airborne Division in Fort Campbell, Kentucky as a paratrooper but, according to the Los Angeles Times, was discharged early for “homosexual tendencies,” a ruse he employed to get released before having to serve his full term.

Bob Ross

bob ross
TV painting instructor/artist Bob Ross jubiantly holding up paint pallette and brushes. (Acey Harper/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Branch: Air Force

Ross actually discovered his love for painting while serving. He worked his way up to the rank of master sergeant in the Air Force.

Adam Driver

Adam Driver, who plays Kylo Ren in the latest Star Wars trilogy, speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International. (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Branch: Marines

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away from his starring role as Han Solo and Princess Leia’s son, Kylo Ren, in the latest Star Wars movies, Driver served a few years in the Marines. He enlisted after 9/11, and was medically discharged a few years later.


Ice-T spent four years in the army. (Santiago Felipe/Getty Images)

Branch: Army

Before his music career, Ice-T spent four years in the army, including a stint as a squad leader in Hawaii.

Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Branch: Army

Kristofferson grew up in a career military family—his father, Lars, was a U.S. Army Air Corps officer. After Kristofferson completed the Army’s notoriously difficult Ranger school in 1960, the future Country Music Hall of Famer followed in his dad’s footsteps and briefly became an Army helicopter pilot.

Drew Carey

Actor/comedian Drew Carey served in the United States Marine Corp Reserve. (Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)

Branch: United States Marine Corps Reserve

Served for six years.

Johnny Cash

Country singer/songwriter Johnny Cash plays acoustic guitar as he performs onstage at the Anaheim Convention Center on March 11, 1978 in Anaheim, California. (Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Branch: Air Force

The famous singer served in Texas and Germany for four years before receiving an honorable discharge in 1954.

Rob Riggle

Retired Lt. Col. Robert Riggle, Jr. (center), poses with the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. John M. Paxton, Jr. (left), at the presentation of the Meritorious Service Medal to Riggle during the Reserve Officers Association Stars Foundation Gala in Washington, D.C., March 4, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tia Dufour)

Branch: Marines

Riggle joined the Marines in 1990 and served in the reserves until he retired at the rank of lieutenant commander retirement in 2013. The stand-up comedian and Saturday Night Live and Daily Show cast member mostly served in a public affairs unit in New York City. During his career, he deployed to Liberia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan.

Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner
Hugh Hefner at Playboy’s 60th Anniversary special event on January 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Playboy)

Branch: Army

Hefner was an infantry clerk in the Army from 1944 to 1946.

Oliver Stone

Rep. Louis Stokes, D-Ohio, stoops over to greet Oliver Stone (left) at House Government Operations Committee hearing on April 30, 1992. (Laura Patterson/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images)

Branch: Army

Stone served in Vietnam with 2nd Platoon, B Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Infantry Division and was twice wounded in action. Stone went on to make the Academy Award-winning movie Platoon based on his combat experiences.

Morgan Freeman

Actor Morgan Freeman served in the Air Force. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Branch: Air Force

He joined in 1955 and became an Airman 1st Class before leaving after nearly four years in the service.

Mr. T

Mr. T served in the U.S. Army military police. (Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank)

Branch: Army

Before he became Mr. T, Lawrence Turead served as a squad leader in the U.S. Army military police.

Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson
Singer/songwriter Willie Nelson performs to a sold-out crowd during his 4th of July Picnic at The Backyard on July 4, 2010, in Austin, Texas.

Branch: Air Force

Nelson enlisted at 17 and served until he suffered a back injury.

Montel Williams

Talk show host and former Navy lieutenant commander Montel Williams interviews Cmdr. James Morgan, commanding officer of guided-missile cruiser USS Howard (DDG 83), on December 5, 2006. (Photo credit: U.S. Navy, by Specialist 2nd Class Kitt Amaritnant)

Branch: Marines, Navy

The well-known talk show host enlisted in the Marines in 1974 and served two years before matriculating to the U.S. Naval Academy. Once he was commissioned in 1980, he served as a officer in Naval Intelligence, specializing in cryptology. He left the military in 1989, having risen to the rank of lieutenant commander.

Gene Wilder

American film star Gene Wilder in London. 28th September 1984. (Mike Maloney/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

Branch: Army

He served for a year in the medical corps before deciding to commit to acting full-time.

Jimmy Stewart

(Original Caption) Commands Bomber Squadron. England: Captain James Stewart has changed his occupation from making feminine hearts throb to making bomber motors roar over occupied territory. The popular film star has arrived in Britain where he commands a squadron of liberator bombers. Captain Stewart, who enlisted in the United States Army nearly three years ago, was a private for nine months.

Branch: Air Force

Stewart was already a known actor when he enlisted and was a pilot in World War II. He started as a flight instructor until he became the commander of  the 445th Bombardment Group. He twice received the Distinguished Flying Cross for actions in combat. Before the war ended, he was promoted to colonel. Stewart was promoted to brigadier general in 1959 and finally retired from the Air Force Reserve in 1968.