No. 1009



If you will be so kind to join me, I would like to share a little bit of history that is very important yet not common knowledge. In our modern culture we are all aware of the importance of the “big screen” in our daily lives (the big screen meaning television, movies, and all different forms of home entertainment).
However, back in the early days of Hollywood and the production of movies (way before the days of television), there were many movie stars and other celebrities that we all enjoyed seeing. I remember back in the 1940s when a man and his wife came to our small town to show a movie, I think for about a dime, and they would string a tarp around some poles and you sat on wooden benches. They also had to have mosquito spray.
Certainly many in the older generation could still even today give you the names of many of those big screen stars. What many people do not know is how many of these “stars” served in the military and made it possible for us to be free. To be sure, we may be speaking another language if it wasn’t for heroes like these. A while back a reader sent me a long list of these people, and I was surprised to see many of the names on the list, many I would never have suspected. Because we all owe them a debt of gratitude, I felt it might also be of interest to you if you knew some of those who fought for our country.
Following is a list of some of these people, and I will also share the branch of service and any special honor that highlights their military career.
Sterling Hayden: Marines and OSS. Smuggled guns into Yugoslavia and parachuted into Croatia. Jimmy Stewart: Army Air Corps. Bomber pilot who rose to rank of Brigadier General. Ernest Borgnine: Navy. Gunners Mate 1c, destroyer USS Lamberton.
Ed McMahon: Marines. Fighter Pilot. Flew OE-I Bird Dogs over Korea as well. Telly Savalas, Army. Kirk Douglas: Navy. Sub-chaser in the Pacific. Wounded in action and medically discharged.
Henry Fonda: Navy. Destroyer USS Satterlee. Rod Steiger: Navy. Was aboard one of the ships that launched the Doolittle Raid. Tony Curtis: Navy. Subtender USS Proteus. In Tokyo Bay for the surrender of Japan.
Mickey Rooney: Army under Patton. Bronze Star. Robert Stack: Navy. Gunnery Officer. James Arness: (Matt Dillon) Army. As an infantryman, he was severely wounded at Anzio, Italy.
Jack Klugman: Army. Tom Bosley: Navy. Chuck Conners: (The Rifleman) Army, Tank warfare instructor.
Don Knotts: (Barney Fife) Army, Pacific Theater. Rock Hudson: Navy. Aircraft mechanic, the Philippines. Ted Knight: Army. Combat Engineers.
Hugh O’Brian: Marines. Clark Gable: Army Air Corps. B-17 gunner over Europe. Charles Bronson: Army Air Corps. B-29 gunner, wounded in action.
Raymond Burr: (Perry Mason) Navy. Shot in the stomach on Okinawa and medically discharged. Dennis Weaver: Navy Pilot. John Wayne: Declared 4F medically unfit: due to pre-existing injuries, he nonetheless attempted to volunteer three times.
Would someone please remind us of how many of today’s Hollywood elite put their careers on hold to enlist in Iraq or Afghanistan? The only one I can recall was Pat Tillman, who turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years from the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the Army after 9/11/2001. He died in 2004. We are free today because of patriots like these and countless others.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)