There have been countless Hollywood movies made about wars and soldiers, but you would never think that the actor starring in the movie has any military experience, right? Well, there are many big celebrities that have served their country that you may not know about. These celebrities have surprisingly spent time on active duty. Remember to thank those who have fought for our freedom.
1. Chuck Norris
Chuck Norris uses a night light, not because he is afraid of the dark, but because the dark is afraid of him. It is no surprise that he served in the army. He enlisted in 1958 as an Air Policeman in South Korea.
He served for four years and during his service, he developed a love for martial arts. He went on to use that passion to propel him to fame in Hollywood.
2. Morgan Freeman
After high school, Morgan Freeman decided to go enlist in the United States Air Force. He must have spent time soothing the soldiers to sleep with his voice on base. Originally, he had the opportunity to go to Jackson State University on a drama scholarship but turned it down.
In the air force, he became an Automatic Tracking Radar Repairman and served this position for four years. In 1959, he left and received the title, "Airman 1st Class."
3. Sean Connery
"The name's Bond, James Bond." The 007 agent did his service long before he became the suave secret agent. At just 16-years-old, he joined the Royal Navy.
Sean Connery served in the Navy for three years until he was discharged due to a stomach ulcer that was too life-threatening to continue his service.
4. Drew Carey
You might be surprised to find out that comedian Drew Carey once served six years in the US Marine Corps. He does not usually talk about his service because it "hurts his comedian image."
Before his time in the Marine Corps, he had long hair and cut it into the style he has today when he enlisted. He also used not to need glasses until he was older, and they became a part of his image.
5. Owen Wilson
Owen Wilson is known for his funny looking nose and goofy sense of humor, but did you know he attended military school! As a junior in high school, he was kicked out of school and sent to military school to get some discipline.
When he finished military school, he decided not to pursue military service and went to university instead. He attended the University of Texas at Austin and earned his bachelor's degree in English.
6. Willie Nelson
In 1950, musician Willie Nelson was just a high school graduate who decided to enlist in the US Air Force. His service was short-lived when he was discharged nine months later due to back problems.
After his service, it took him some time to gain musical success, 20 years to be exact. Once he made it big, he became known worldwide. He also is an advocate for marijuana legalization.
7. Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood was one handsome soldier! He was drafted during the Korean War and trained at Ft. Ord in California. On base, he was a swimming instructor for two years of service. He was also a bouncer at the Army NCO Club.
He had one scary incident during his service when he caught a ride with a Navy plane to visit his family at home. The plane had engine trouble, and they had to make an emergency water landing. They had to swim a mile to land, and after the experience, he found out the crash site was a breeding area for sharks.
8. Gal Gadot
On-screen, Gal Gadot plays the magnificent superhero, Wonder Woman, and in real life, she also was a fighter. She served two years in the Israeli Defence Forces as a combat trainer. That must be where she learned all her stunts for the movie.
In 2004, Gal won the title of Miss Israel and then enrolled in the army at 20-years old. Clearly, there are few things she can't do. How is she so perfect?
9. Jimi Hendrix
Rockstar Jimi Hendrix and discipline are usually not used in the same sentence, but surprisingly even he served some time. He actually got to the army by being a bad boy.
He was arrested for driving a stolen car, and he had the option to go to jail or serve in the army. He chose to enlist and was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division in Kentucky. He received an honorable discharge for being unsuitable.
10. Bea Arthur
Let's go girls! Male celebrities weren't the only ones serving in the military. Bea Arthur joined the Marine Corps during WWII.
During her service, she was a truck driver and typist. She worked her way up the ranks to become a staff sergeant, and in 1945 she was honorably discharged.
11. Bill Cosby
Although Bill Cosby is no longer well-liked like he used to be, he did serve in the Navy during the Korean War. When he was 19-years-old, he enlisted and served in bases in Virginia, Maryland, and Newfoundland, Canada.
He served for four years as a hospital corpsman and physical therapist for injured Korean War soldiers. In 2011, he honored by the Navy and received the title of honorary chief petty officer.
12. Arnold Shwarzenegger
The Terminator/former California Governor/Mr. Universe 1967 is also a military veteran. He enlisted in 1965, and at the time it was required that all men serve in the Austrian Army.
He was only required to serve for one year, and during that year, he was put in military prison for sneaking off base to participate in Junior Mr. Europe. He wanted to complete so badly that he didn't think about the consequences, but luckily he won the competition.
13. Mr. T
I pity the fool that had to face Mr. T in the army. That must have been where he got his bad-to-the-bone attitude. He enlisted in the United States Army after he was expelled from Prairie View A&M University.
His drill sergeant in the Military Police Corps named him "Top trainee of the cycle." He later went on to become a squad leader.
14. Tom Selleck
Magnum P.I. star and Dr. Burke from Friends also served in the army. He was in the 160th Infantry Regiment of the California Army National Guard during the '60s.
In 1965, Sellek was one of 4,000 national guard members called to put an end to the Watts riots in Los Angelas. He is now a spokesperson for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
15. Rob Riggle
You have probably seen Rob Riggle playing many different characters on Saturday Night Live, but he only started his comedy career after 2013. Until 2013, he was serving in the US Marine Corps as a Lieutenant Colonel.
He joined the Marines in 1990 and served in Kosovo, Liberia, and Afghanistan. He retired after serving for 23 years! Riggle went back to Iraq as a correspondent for the Daily Show to entertain the troops.
16. Johnny Cash
"Sometimes I am two people. Johnny is the nice one. Cash causes all the trouble. They fight." Not only was Johnny Cash fighting himself, but he was also fighting for his country. At 18-years-old, he enlisted in the US Air Force and was sent to Germany.
He was useful during the Cold War as a Morse coder. He helped the Security Service Unit, and he was the first American to find out Joseph Stalin died.
17. Hugh Hefner
Even Mr. Playboy himself served in the military. During WWII, he enlisted and served for two years.
Hefner worked as an infantry clerk and writer for the military newspaper. He also drew cartoons for the paper, and many people were fond of his work. Who knew he would become one of the most well-known bachelors!
Before playing the tough character of Detective Tutuola on Law and Order: SVU, Ice-T was selling drugs on the streets of LA and stealing car radios to make money. His girlfriend at the time got pregnant, and he knew he needed to change for his child.
In 1979, Ice-T enlisted int he army and served for four years in the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. He got his life together and after his service, he pursued a career as a DJ and rapper.
19. Sam Elliott
Sam Elliott has played a military man many times on-screen, but he also did his service off-scree as well. He served in the California Army National Guard's 146th Airlift Wing before being restationed to the Channel Islands Air National Guard Station.
Elliott says that his time in the military gave him leadership skills and discipline that have helped him throughout his career.
20. Mel Brooks
Before Mel Brooks made it big as a comedian, he was known as Private Melvin Kaminsky and Corporal Kaminsky. During WWII, he served in Europe as part of the 1104 Engineer Combat Battalion.
He completed a training program at the Virginia Military Institute before being deployed. His main job was to defuse landmines set up by enemies.
21. Gene Wilder
"Time is a precious thing, never waste it." Willy Wonka was a veteran before he started his chocolate business. He was drafted into the army when he was 23-years-old.
After basic training, he was assigned to the medical corps in Valley Forge Army Hospital in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. While he served, he was also taking acting classes in New York City.
22. Prince Harry
Before he became Mr. Meghan Markle, he was known for his long-time service in the British army. Prince Harry trained with the British Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 2006.
Harry was deployed to Iraq, but it was decided that he would be too much of a target to join his troops on the front line. After, he was deployed to Afghanistan and left the army in 2015.
23. Alan Alda
You might remember Alan Alda from the famous TV show, M*A*S*H where he played Hawkeye Pierce. It turns out that in the 1950s, he did a tour in the Korean War.
Alda trained at Fordham University's Reserve Officers' Training Corps. He spent six months in the US Army Reserve before being sent to Korea. Some of his experiences from his army service were used for M*A*S*H.
24. James Earl Jones
Before James Earl Jones voiced Darth Vader and Mufasa, he was serving in the Korean War in the Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Jones was never deployed, but he served in the US between 1953 and 1955. He worked his way up the ranks to become a first lieutenant.
25. Paul Newman
Actor Paul Newman graduated high school and decided to attend Ohio University before signing up to become a Navy pilot. Sadly, he was rejected because he was colorblind, but that didn't stop him from serving his country.
Instead of being a Navy pilot, he became a radioman and rear gunner. He served in the Pacific theatre and qualified as a torpedo bomber. Newman earned the rank of Aviation Radioman Third Class and was sent to Barbers Point, Hawaii.
26. MC Hammer
"Stop Hammer time!" One-hit-wonder MC Hammer joined the Navy instead of becoming a drug dealer when he failed out of college. He enlisted in the US Navy in the 1980s.
MC Hammer served with the Patron Four Seven of NAS Moffett Field in Mountain View, California. He was a Petty Officer Third Class Aviation Store Keeper. After three years of service, he was honorably discharged.
27. Ernest Hemingway
Before he was a world-famous author, Ernest Hemingway served during the last year of WWI. He enlisted to be an ambulance driver in Italy, but when he arrived in Paris, is was being bombarded by German artillery.
Hemingway finally managed to make his way to Milan, Italy, where he was taken to a munitions factory explosion site. He received the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery after he helped Italian soldiers get to safety despite being wounded himself.
28. Kirk Douglas
When the US entered WWII, Kirk Douglas knew he had to serve his country. In 1941, he enlisted in the Navy and became a communications officer in anti-submarine warfare.
Douglas served for three years before being medically discharged for war injuries. He returned to New York and decided to pursue a career in acting.
29. Bob Hope
Bob Hope didn't actually serve in the military, but he did a lot of work for the United Service Organization. As he grew famous for his singing, acting, and comedy skills, he started performing for the troops during WWII.
Hope headlined 57 tours in six different wars. He was named an honorary veteran by the United States Armed Forced by president Bill Clinton.
30. Jackie Robinson
Before becoming the first African-American professional baseball player, he was a member of the first African-American tank unit that saw combat. He was drafted during WWII and fought in the 761st "Black Panthers" Tank Battalion.
Robinson was never deployed overseas because he was held in court for not moving to the back of the army bus. In 1944, he was honorably discharged.
31. Elvis Presley
"I hope I didn't bore you too much with my life story." The King had an interesting life story and couldn't bore anyone! In 1958, he was drafted into the US Army as a private at Fort Chaffee in Arkansas. He was already famous at this time, so his arrival to the base caused a big media frenzy.
He served for two years in the 3rd Armored Division. During his service, Elvis was introduced to amphetamines by his sergeant which started his life-long drug battle.
32. Ronald Reagan
Former President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, did some time in the military before WWII. He enlisted in the Army Enlisted Reserve, and in 1939 he became a second lieutenant in the Officers Reserve Corps.
It wasn't until 1942 that Reagan was called to active duty, but he wasn't allowed to go overseas due to poor eyesight. He served for three years and left with the rank of captain.
33. Marvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye might be known for his significant influence in Motown music, but before he was a singer, he served in the military. He dropped out of high school at 17 to enlist in the United States Airforce.
He served as a basic airman but was bored with the simple tasks he was given. He somehow faked a mental illness to be discharged.
34. Bob Barker
Another Price is Right host served in the Navy before becoming famous. Bob Barker enlisted during WWII as a Navy fighter pilot.
He became a fighter pilot but was never assigned overseas because the war ended before he qualified. After the war ended, he went back to school to finish his degree in economics.
35. Joe DiMaggio
The famous Yankee baseball player was passionate about fighting for his country. He enlisted in the army before he even got his draft notice in 1943. When he enlisted, he was already well known for his 56-game hitting streak.
Dimaggio rose the rank of sergeant but never went to combat. He spent most of his service as a physical education trainer, and after two years, he was released on medical discharge for stomach ulcers.
36. Sammy Davis Jr.
The amazing singer and dancer, Sammy Davis Junior didn't realize how prejudice the world really was until he enlisted in the navy. He served during WWII at 18-years old. During his service white soldiers would often abuse him and his nose was broken multiple times.
He was later reassigned to the Army's Special Services branch to put on performances for the troops. At one of his shows, he had to perform for the soldiers who abused him. He was discharged in 1945 and earned the American Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal.
37. J.D. Salinger
The Catcher in the Rye author, J.D. Salinger was drafted into the army in 1942 as an infantry soldier. He experienced combat in numerous battles during WWII, including D-Day at Utah Beach, the Battle of the Bulge, and others.
During his service, Salinger learned French and German to help assist with prisoner interrogation. He stayed in Germany six months after the war with the Counterintelligence Corps for "Denazification" duty. His army experience greatly influence his many of his books.
38. Don Knotts
Don Knotts was another well-known comedian who spent time entertaining the troops during the war. He joined the army after his first year of college and served in the G.I. Variety show called "Stars and Gripes."
Knotts served for three years and was discharged in the rank of Technician Grade 5. He received the World War II Victory Medal, the Philippine Liberation Medal, and the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, to name a few.
39. Johnny Carson
The hilarious TV show host, Johnny Carson, enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and was assigned to the USS Pensylvania. His ship was station in the Pacific.
On the ship, Carson served as a midshipman and after the war ended, he went on to be a communications officer who decoded encrypted messages. During his service, he liked to make everyone on the ship laugh with jokes and magic tricks.
40. Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra was signed to the New York Yankees at the same time he began his Navy service in 1943. He served as a Gunner's mate on the USS Bayfield. His ship participated in the D-Day invasion of France and launched attack on the German forces at Omaha Beach.
After the war ended, he returned to New York to play baseball and was a catcher. He went on to be a manager and coach for the Yankees.