Famous Veterans

Posted November 11, 2015 by Amanda | No Comment

It’s Veterans Day! Today we celebrate the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Do you have military veterans in your family?

Check out these famous folks who have served their country:

Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy | Famous Veterans

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Audie Murphy was one of the most decorated American soldiers of World War II. He had always wanted to be a solider and tried to enlist shorty after the attack on Pearl Harbor. However, he was denied by the Army, Navy and Marine Corps for being underage. After his sister provided an affidavit falsifying his birth date by a year, he was accepted by the U.S. Army. At the age of 19, he received the Medal of Honor after single-handedly holding off an entire company of German soldiers for an hour, and then leading a successful counterattack while wounded and out of ammunition. Murphy would receive every military combat award of valor available from the U.S. Army. After the war, he enjoyed a successful acting career and even played himself in the 1949 movie, To Hell and Back.

Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen | Famous Veterans

Image: U.S. National Archives and Records Adminstration

Before he was known as the “King of Cool,” Steve McQueen served in the United States Marine Corps. When he first joined in 1947, he was promoted to private first class and assigned to an armored unit. However, his rebellious nature got the best of him and he was demoted back to private several times. He once spent 41 days in the brig after failing to return from his weekend pass. He stayed out with his girlfriend for two weeks before he was caught. After his indiscretions, McQueen strove to embrace the values of the Marines. During a training exercise in the Arctic, the ship McQueen was aboard hit a sandbank, sending tanks and crewmen into the water. McQueen jumped in and managed to save five of the men. He was later assigned to the honor guard and was responsible for guarding President Harry Truman’s yacht. He served until 1950 and was honorably discharged.

James Garner

James Garner | Famous Veterans

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Actor James Garner was born James Scott Bumgarner in Norman, Oklahoma. He joined the Merchant Marine and National Guard before he was drafted to serve in the Korean War. He earned two Purple Hearts during the war, but didn’t receive it until 1983. A mixup was the cause of the delay and it wasn’t discovered until Garner commented that he never received the medal during an interview with Good Morning America.

Charles Schulz

Charles Schulz | Famous Veterans

Image: Library of Congress

In 1943, cartoonist Charles Schulz was drafted into the U.S. military. He served as a staff sergeant with the 20th Armored Division in Europe and as a squad leader on a .50 caliber machine gun team. His unit helped lead the charge on Munich and liberate the Dachau concentration camp. During his time in Europe, Schulz saw little combat. He only had one opportunity to fire his machine gun, but in that moment, forgot to load it. Fortunately for him, the German soldier had willingly surrendered. He was discharged in late 1945 and went on to create the beloved Peanuts comic strip.

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood | Famous Veterans

Image: Wikimedia Commons

In 1951, Clint Eastwood was attending Seattle University when he was drafted into the U.S. Army. He was assigned to Fort Ord in California and appointed as a lifeguard and swimming instructor. Although he never saw combat during the Korean War, it didn’t keep Eastwood from having his own life threatening experience. Returning from a visit to see his parents in Seattle, Eastwood caught a free plane ride on a Douglas AD bomber. The plane ran out of gas and crashed into the ocean. He and the pilot escaped and swam 3 miles in shark infested waters to safety.

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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