It’s Memorial Day weekend over here in the United States of America so I decided to do a post on three most notably musicians that have served in the US Military.
Elvis Aron Presley – United States Army
Service Date- March 24, 1958 – March 5, 1960
Elvis was inducted into the U.S. Army on March 24, 1958 as a private at Fort Chaffee, near Fort Smith, Arkansas.. He completed basic training in Fort Hood, Texas where he belonged to Company A, 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 37th Armor, stationed at Fort Hood. He then went overseas to Germany from October 1, 1958, until March 2, 1960, as a member of the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armor. He left active duty at Fort Dix, New Jersey, on March 5, 1960, and received his discharge from the Army Reserve on March 23, 1964.
Jimi Hendrix – United States Army
Service Date – May 31, 1961 – August 3, 1962
After being arrested for riding in stolen cars in his hometown of Seattle, Washington, Jimi Hendrix was given a choice between spending two years in prison or joining the US Army. Hendrix chose the Army and enlisted for three years on May 31, 1961. After completing basic training at Fort Ord near Monterey in California, he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Hendrix was considered to be a subpar soldier, he slept while on duty, had little regard for regulations, required constant supervision, and showed no skill as a marksman. So after getting hurt during a parachute jump, Hendrix received an honorable discharge from the Army on August 2, 1962 after only 13 months.
Johnny Cash – United States Air Force
Service Date – July 7, 1950 – July 3, 1954
Johnny Cash enlisted in the United States Air Force on July 7, 1950 and completed basic training at Lackland Air Force Base and technical training at Brooks Air Force Base, both in San Antonio, Texas. Cash was assigned to a U.S. Air Force Security Service unit, assigned as a Morse Code Intercept Operator for Soviet Army. Cash was actually the first radio operator to pick up the news of the death of Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin in 1953. Cash was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant on July 3, 1954.
Ray Manzarek (The Doors) – United States Army
Service Date – 1962
Manzarek was in college to be an attorney and disliked it, so he decided to serve his time in the military. He enlisted in the US Army in 1962 before the height of the Vietnam War and instead went to Thailand. He was discharged a little after serving one year. Upon his discharge Manzarek went back to UCLA, met Jim Morrison and formed The Doors.
Tony Bennett – United States Army
Service Date – November 1944-1946
Anthony Dominick Benedetto – “Tony Bennett” was drafted into the United States Army in November 1944, during the final stages of World War II. He did basic training at Fort Dix and Fort Robinson as part of becoming an infantry rifleman. As March 1945 began, he joined the front line and what he would later describe as a “front-row seat in hell.”
Bennett stayed in Germany as part of the occupying force, but was assigned to an informal Special Services band unit that would entertain nearby American forces. His dining with a black friend from high school – at a time when the Army was still racially segregated – led to his being demoted and reassigned to Graves Registration Service duties. Subsequently, he sang with the 314th Army Special Services Band under the stage name Joe Bari. He was discharged from the Army and returned to the States in 1946.
Others musicians that have served in the U.S. Military include John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival (Army Reserve), Jazz saxophone player John Coltrane (U.S. Navy Reserve), Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead (U.S. Army) and Maynard James Keenan of Tool (U.S. Army).
Here’s the military photos of Coltrane and Keenan.
Salute To All The Soldiers Who Have Served In The United States Military.