21 Celebrities Who Served in the Military

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We often salute celebrities for their work on screen or on stage.

But these are the celebrities who truly deserve our praise and admiration for something much more important. Something bigger than themselves.

These are the famous men and women who served in the armed forces prior to striking it big, and we're here to offer them an online ovation...

1. Morgan Freeman

Hollywood legend Freeman served in the Air Force, where he worked as a radar technician. This period instilled in Freeman, an avid flying enthusiast, a lifelong love of the sky.

2. Drew Carey

Drew Carey
The Price is Right host Drew Carey spent six years (1980-1986) in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. He still has the haircut!

3. Chuck Norris

Not only did Chuck Norris serve in the Air Force, but he has served as spokesman for the VA and was named the Air Force's Veteran of the Year in 2001. It's unclear if he won any top-secret wars using only his unparalleled martial arts skills.

4. Nate Dogg

Before becoming one of the men who took hip hop to the mainstream in the 1990s, Nate Dogg was a munitions specialist in the US Marines. The late rapper once said he joined the military to "see if I was a man."

5. Elvis Presley

Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley, seen here in a 1958 photo, is perhaps the most famous celebrity veteran of all.

6. Bea Arthur

Bea Arthur
The Golden Girls star listed bow and rifle hunting on her Corps qualification card, and served as a typist and truck driver from 1943-1945, when she was honorably discharged.

7. Dave Thomas

Dave Thomas
Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas honed his restaurant skills serving 2,000 soldiers daily as a mess sergeant from 1950-1953, during the Korean War.

8. Pat Sajak

The future Wheel of Fortune host served as an Armed Forces Radio DJ in Saigon, Vietnam, between 1968-1970.

9. Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix
When 18-year-old James Marshall Hendrix was busted on stolen car charges in 1961, he was given a choice: the Army or prison. He took the former, and later received an honorable discharge for an ankle injury sustained as a paratrooper.

10. Alan Alda

Alan Alda
Alan Alda was great in his role as Hawkeye on M*A*S*H, and his real-world experience could not have hurt. Alda joined the Army Reserve after graduating college.

11. Javi Morroquin

Fans of Teen Mom 2 know that Kailyn Lowry's husband Javi Marroquin is an active member of the U.S. Air Force.

12. Hugh Hefner

Before he became the ultimate Playboy, Hugh Hefner enlisted in the army as an infantry clerk and won a sharpshooter badge in basic training. While enlisted in Oregon, then Virginia, he drew cartoons for Army newspapers.

13. Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby
During high school, Bill Cosby dropped out to join the Navy, where he worked as a medical aide on ships and in military hospitals. He also became a member of the Navy's track team, and earned his high school diploma while enlisted in the service. After hitting fame in show business, he became an honorary chief hospital corpsman.

14. Hammer

Oakland native Stanley Burrell served three years in the US Navy. He later adopted the stage name MC Hammer and traded his parachute for pants that resembled them.

15. J.R. Martinez

All My Children actor and Dancing With the Stars winner J.R. Martinez was known first for his amazing story. After suffering severe burns, losing 34 percent of his body and having to re-learn how to walk following a 2003 strike on his military vehicle, Martinez traveled the U.S. delivering motivational speeches to other injured veterans.

16. Ice-T

Law & Order: SVU star Ice-T (real name Tracy Marrow) has quite the resume over the years, but nothing is more surprising than his four-year stint in the U.S. Army from 1979-1983.

17. Montel Williams

Montel Williams
Montel Williams joined the Marines straight out of high school and earned a scholarship to the prestigious Naval Academy. He served 20 years in the Navy as successful and heavily-decorated officer.

18. Oliver Stone

Oliver Stone
Oliver Stone was a decorated Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart winner. His film Platoon was made in part to help the famed director process some of his own experiences.

19. Al Gore

Al Gore
This military background did not help Gore win the White House, however.

20. Adam Driver

Adam Driver
We salute the Girls and Star Wars star for his dedicated service.

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