American history is full of engaging stories, and our U.S. presidents play a key role. For many presidents, their time in the service shaped how they served our country in the Oval Office. Not every president has the story of Lyndon B. Johnson, who’s perfectly timed bathroom break made him miss his take-off during WWII. It was a move that saved his life, as the plane crashed, leaving Johnson as the only surviving member of the crew. Whether you know all of the stories about our presidents or only a few, see if you know who served in our military over the years.
U.S. Presidents Who Served
The U.S. has 29 presidents who have served our nation’s military, starting of course, with George Washington. With 44 individuals who have stepped foot in the Oval Office, with 45 terms so far, about 65% of our Presidents have fought for our country in more ways than one. Presidents who served in the Army took the lead, with over 51% serving in that branch. However, while 29 presidents have served in the military, only one led his troops into battle. It’s fitting that the only one who holds that honor also happens to be the very first president of our nation.
There Are Many Ways for Presidents to Serve the Country
Thomas Jefferson was of the author of the Declaration of Independence. He also served in the Virginia Legislature and Continental Congress during the American Revolutionary War, as well as served as governor of Virginia. However, he never served in the military. Jefferson fought more with his pen and his politics.
Rank and Medal of Honor Recipients
In 1976, George Washington received the title of 6-star General – almost 200 years after he died. However, Dwight D. Eisenhower is the only president to ever achieve the rank of 5-Star General. It is the highest attainable rank in the military. In case you are an over-achieve, legislation passed in 1976 ensured that George Washington can never be outranked.
Theodore Roosevelt received the Medal of Honor in 2001 – just 103 years after he charged up the San Juan Hill during his service in the Spanish-American War. Roosevelt felt that he deserved the honor, and said, “I am entitled to the Medal of Honor, and I want it.” Roosevelt’s son, Brig. Gen. Theodore Roosevelt was also awarded the Medal of Honor – making them a father-son duo to claim the award. General Douglas MacArthur and his father, General Arthur MacArthur are the other duo.
Many Roads Lead to the White House
Every president may take a different road to the White House, but those who have served our country have a double honor. Not all faced the battlefield, but those that served, mastered many of the skills that today’s veterans possess. Leadership, teamwork, order, adaptability, and so many other skillsets are all necessary when stepping up to lead the country.