This Veterans Day, take a moment to honor someone who took the time out to serve our country in the military. And barring that, watch a film or show featuring one of these Hollywood stars who will most definitely be celebrating Veterans Day on Monday. Some of the actors on this list have military careers that date all the way back to World War II. And while this list excludes celebrities who have passed away, including people like James Stewart, Elvis Presley and Bea Arthur, there’s more than enough patriotism on this list to go around.
Adam Driver joined up in the Marines shortly after 9/11 and served for two years and eight months before being medically discharged after suffering a mountain biking accident. He was assigned to Weapons Company, 1st Battalian, 1st Marines. And though he was never deployed, he did get a nickname from his fellow Marines: “Ears Two.” He explained to Stephen Colbert that he was one of two guys in his battalion with big ears, but that he avoided most of the verbal ridicule. He told The Guardian how serving changed his outlook on life. “There’s something about going into the military and having all of your identity and possessions stripped away: that whole clarity of purpose thing. It becomes very clear to you, when you get your freedom back, that there’s stuff you want to do.”
Though he’s more well known as a Western cowboy, Clint Eastwood was drafted into the Korean War and served as a lifeguard while training at Fort Ord in California. He was discharged in 1953 and was able to attend acting school during his tenure thanks to the G.I. Bill.
Morgan Freeman actually turned down a partial scholarship for acting and instead opted to join the Air Force. For nearly four years between 1955 to 1959, he served as a radar technician and rose to the rank of Airman 1st Class. He told AARP magazine (via military.com) that he felt as though he were sitting “in the nose of a bomb” once he finally trained to fly a fighter plane. “You are not in love with this; you are in love with the idea of this,” Freeman said.
Chuck Norris joined the U.S. Air Force as an air policeman beginning in 1958, eventually being sent to Osan Air Base in South Korea. It was there he developed his signature martial arts form, the Chun Kuk Do. He was later discharged in 1962.
The “Magnum P.I.” actor Tom Selleck served in the California Army National Guard between 1967 to 1973.
In an effort to support his girlfriend and newly born daughter, Ice-T enlisted in the military to get off the streets and found himself stationed in Hawaii in the 25th Infantry Division between 1977 to 1979. It was there he started meeting people who helped inspire his music career as a rapper.
The famed Italian singer Tony Bennett, now in his ’90s, was drafted to serve in World War II in Nov. 1944, and by March of 1945, he was sent to the front line through France and into Germany as part of the 63rd Infantry Division, better known as the “Blood and Fire” division. In his autobiography “The Good Life,” Bennett recalled the experience as having a “front row seat in hell.”
Comedian Rob Riggle served in the Marines for 23 years, first joining up in 1990 when he said he would rather be a “Top Gun” pilot than be a waiter. He served in Kosovo, Liberia, Afghanistan and Albania during his time, becoming a decorated lieutenant colonel in the process. And though he wanted to enter into flight school, he realized it would hinder his dream of one day doing comedy. “I stopped flying, became a ground officer, had a short contract, fulfilled my contract and pursued comedy and acting,” Riggle told CBS News. “I stayed in the reserves though and did the reserves for the last 14 years. And I just retired in January from the Marines. This is a great country, you can do it all.”
Robin Quivers, a co-host on Howard Stern’s radio show, rose to the rank of captain while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force between 1975 and 1978. She was discharged shortly after, but remained a member of the reserve with no active duty until 1990, according to the biography “Howard Stern: King of All Media.”
Colombian-American actress Zulay Henao served three years in the U.S. Army, telling Maxim she joined up right after high school and immediately felt the pressure of basic training at Fort Bragg. “it was miserable. I quickly realized I’d have to change my attitude if I was going to get through it. I’ve always tried to make the most out of my experiences, but that one was tough,” she told Maxim.
Kirk Douglas had a brief stint in the U.S. Navy, joining up shortly after America entered World War II, serving on a submarine between 1943 and 1944, according to CNN.
James Earl Jones
Though he was recruited during the most active time during the Korean War and eventually to the rank of first lieutenant, James Earl Jones was stationed at a cold-weather training command base in Leadville, Colorado beginning in 1953.
Gene Hackman said on an episode of “Inside the Actors’ Studio” that when he was 16, he lied about his age and enlisted in the marine corps in 1946. He spent four and a half years as a field radio operator and was stationed in China for a time before being assigned to Hawaii and Japan.
The comedy legend Mel Brooks served in World War II as a combat engineer, defusing land mines as a corporal in the 1104 Engineer Combat Division. “I was a combat engineer. Isn’t that ridiculous? The two things I hate most in the world are combat and engineering,” Brooks joked to military.com. “War isn’t hell… War is loud. Much too noisy. All those shells and bombs going off all around you. Never mind death. A man could lose his hearing.”
Robert Duvall may be known for his Vietnam War movie “Apocalypse Now,” but he did briefly serve in the Army shortly after the Korean War, even acting in plays while stationed in Camp Gordon in Georgia. He served two years and left as a private first class. He did have to clarify the extent of his service however, telling People in 1984 (via military.com), “Some stories have me shooting it out with the Commies from a foxhole over in Frozen Chosen. Pork Chop Hill stuff. Hell, I barely qualified with the M-1 rifle in basic training.”
Drew Carey still has his crew cut and signature glasses that he first started wearing back in his Marine Corps days when he served as a field radio operator in the 25th Marine Regiment in Ohio. The comedian served for six years and has frequently given back to the military in the form of performances for the USO.
The comedian Sinbad told Ebony magazine that he nearly had a dishonorable discharge for going AWOL while he was serving in the air force as a boom operator, including frequently leaving to perform stand-up comedy and because he failed to make the Air Force basketball team.
Sidney Poitier lied about his age to enlist during World War II and wound up in a VA hospital in Northport, New York, serving for a year before obtaining a discharge in 1944.
While best known as a military doctor on “M.A.S.H.,” Alda completed a minimum six-month tour of duty in the Korean War as a gunnery officer.
Director Oliver Stone’s combat experience in Vietnam directly contributed to his films “Platoon” and “Born on the Fourth of July” that would become staples of his career. Stone served in the Army for over a year between 1967 and 1968 and was even wounded twice in battle. He’s been honored with a Bronze Star with “V” device for heroism in ground combat and a Purple Heart with an Oak Leaf Cluster.
Read original story 21 Hollywood Stars Who Served in the Military, From Clint Eastwood to Adam Driver (Photos) At TheWrap