Compare them to the Hollywood

simpletons of today


Don Rickles

US Navy. WWII aboard the motor torpedo boat USS Cyrene, as a Seaman First Class.

Harry Dean Stanton

US Navy.  WWII Served aboard an LST in the Battle of Okinawa.

Soupy Sales

US Navy.  Served on USS Randall in the South Pacific.

Lee Van Cleef

US Navy.  WWII Served aboard a sub chaser then a mine sweeper.

Clifton James

US Army WWII. South Pacific, was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart.

Ted Knight

US Army, Combat Engineers.  He was a member of A Company, 296th Combat Engineer Battalion, earning five battle stars while serving in the European Theatre.

Jack Warden

US Navy, 1938-1942, then US Army, 1942-1945.  101st Airborne Division.

Don Adams

US Marines.  WWII. Wounded on Guadalcanal, then served as a Drill Instructor.

James Gregory

US Navy and US Marines. WWII.  His tour of duty took him to the Pacific where he spent 83 days in Okinawa

Brian Keith

US Marines.  WWII. He served as an air gunner (he was a radio-gunner in the rear cockpit of a two-man Douglas SBD Dauntless dive bomber in a U.S. Marine squadron) and received an Air Medal.

Fess Parker

US Navy and US Marines. WWII.  Booted from pilot training for being too tall, joined Marines as a radio operator.

Charles Durning

US Army. WWII. Landed at Normandy on D-Day.  Shot multiple times.  Awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts.  Survived Malmedy Massacre.

Raymond Burr

US Navy.  WWII.  Reported to have been shot in the stomach in Okinawa and medically discharged.

Hugh O’Brian

US Marines. WWII.  At 17, he became the youngest Drill Instructor in Marine Corps' history, and during his four year “hitch,” won a coveted Fleet appointment to the United States Naval Academy.

Robert Ryan

US Marines.  Drill Instructor, Camp Pendelton.

Eddie Albert

US Coast Guard.  US Navy.  WWII.  Bronze Star with Combat V for saving several Marines under heavy fire as pilot of a landing craft during the invasion of Tarawa.

Clark Gable

US Army Air Corps. WWII B-17 gunner over Europe.

Charles Bronson

US Army Air Corps. 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron, and in 1945 as a Boeing B-29 Superfortress aerial gunner with the Guam-based 61st Bombardment Squadron.

Peter Graves

US Army Air Corps.  WWII. To his disappointment, he never left the States during his two-year tour of duty.

Buddy Hackett

US Army.  WWII.  Served for three years in an anti-aircraft battery. He enlisted after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he was 18.

Victor Mature

US Coast Guard. WWII.  Attempted to enlist in the U.S. Navy, but was rejected for color blindness. He enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard after taking a different eye test the same day.

Jack Palance

US Army Air Corps.  WWII.  Severely injured bailing out of a burning B-24 bomber.

Robert Preston

US Army Air Corps.  WWII.  Served as an Intelligence Officer in the US 9th Air Force with the 386th Bomb Group.

Cesar Romer

US Coast Guard.  Coast Guard.  WWII.  Participated in the invasions of Tinian and Saipan on the assault transport USS Cavalier.

Norman Fell

US Army Air Corps, WWII, Bomber Aircraft Tail Gunner, Pacific Theater.

Jason Robards

US Navy, WWII.  He was aboard heavy cruiser USS Northampton when it was sunk off Guadalcanal.  Also, served on the USS Nashville during the invasion of the Philippines, surviving a kamikaze hit that caused 223 casualties. Good Conduct Medal of the Navy, the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal

Steve Reeves

US Army, WWII Philippines and Japan, Battle of Balete Pass, 125th Infantry.

Dennis Weaver

US Navy, WWII Pilot. Training simulation flights in the states. When the war in Japan ended with the bombing of Hiroshima, Weaver snapped up an offer to leave the Navy. When asked about his role in the war, Weaver said, “It wasn’t much, but it sure was interesting.”

Robert Taylor

US Naval Air Corps, WWII Instructor Pilot, he was deemed too old for overseas service.  Also, directed 17 United States Navy training films during World War II

Randolph Scott

US Army.  WWI.  Tried to enlist in the Marines but was rejected due to injuries sustained in US Army, World War 1.

Ronald Reagan

US Army.  WWII.  Was a 2nd Lt. in the Cavalry Reserves before the war.  His poor eyesight kept him from being sent overseas with his unit when war came so he transferred to the Army Air Corps Public Relations Unit where he served for the duration.

John Wayne

Declared "4F medically unfit" due to pre-existing injuries, he nonetheless attempted to volunteer three times (Army, Navy and Film Corps.) so he gets honorable mention.


Audie Murphy

US Army.  WWI. America’s most-decorated soldier, who became a Hollywood star as a result of his US Army service that included his being awarded the Medal of Honor.
Would someone please remind me again how many of today’s Hollywood elite put their careers on hold to enlist in Iraq or Afghanistan?  The only one who even comes close was Pat Tillman, who turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years from the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the US Army after September 11, 2001, and serve as a Ranger in Afghanistan, where he died in 2004.  But rather than being lauded for his choice and his decision to put his country before his career, he was mocked and derided by many of his peers.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I submit to you that this is not the America today that it was seventy years ago, and I, for one, am saddened.  My generation grew up watching, being entertained by and laughing with so many of these fine people, never really knowing what they contributed to the war effort.  Like millions of Americans during the WWII, there was a job that needed doing they didn’t question, they went and did it, those that came home returned to their now new normal life and carried on, very few ever saying what they did or saw.
They took it as their “responsibility”, their “duty” to Country, to protect and preserve our freedoms and way of life, not just for themselves but for all future generations to come.  As a member of a later generation, I’m forever humbly in their debt.
This list could continue on, however, we wanted to showcase a few of the most remembered celebrities who made the brave decision to put their careers on hold, and serve our country proudly.

Thank you all!