A partial biography of those that were eventually famous who heeded the call of duty and “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” While this is in no way attempting to be a complete listing, it will give the reader an appreciation of what DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY really mean, and our appreciation for their proud service.
Actor Cpl Philip Carey US Marine Corps (Served 1943-1952)
Bio: Tall, blond and of rugged proportions, handsome actor Philip Carey started out as a standard 1950s film actor in westerns, war stories and crime yarns but didn’t achieve full-fledged stardom until well past age 50 when he joined the daytime line-up as ornery Texas tycoon Asa Buchanan on the popular soap “One Life to Live” (1968) in 1979. Carey served with the Marine Corps during World War II and the Korean War.
Actor SSgt Charleston Heston US Army Air Corps (Served 1944-1946)
Bio: In 1944, Heston enlisted in the United States Army Air Forces. He served for two years as a radio operator and aerial gunner aboard a B-25 Mitchell stationed in the Alaskan Aleutian Islands with the Eleventh Air Force. He reached the rank of Staff Sergeant.
Jazz Legend MUS1c John Coltrane US Navy (Served 1945-1946)
Bio: Coltrane made his first professional Jazz appearance in 1945 playing alto in the Jimmy Johnson Big Band. Later that year, during World War II, he was drafted into the US Navy. While stationed in Hawaii he played clarinet in the Navy band called the Melody Masters.
Actor Captain Jeff Chandler US Army (Served 1941-1945)
Bio: Ruggedly handsome, virile with a distinctive voice and silvery hair, Jeff Chandler was 6′ 4″ by the time he was 15 and began to gray at eighteen. He served as an officer in the Army in World War II.
Musician PFC George Jones US Marine Corps (Served 1950-1953)
Bio: Jones was born in a log house near the east Texas town of Saratoga, the youngest of eight children. He sang in church and at age 11 began performing for tips on the streets of Beaumont, Texas. His first outing was such a success that listeners tossed him coins, placed a cup by his side and filled it with money. Jones estimated he made more than $24 for his two-hour performance, enough to feed his family for a week, but he used up the cash at a local arcade.
Actor A1C Morgan Freeman US Air Force (Served 1955-1959)
Bio: Freeman was always entranced by war films, particularly pieces about fighter pilots. In love with the idea of flying, he joined the U.S. Air Force in 1955 but was relegated to being a radar technician. His interest in flight was so strong that he turned down a scholarship for drama from Jackson State University to enlist.
Actor RMS1c Fess Parker US Navy (Served 1943-1946)
Bio: Best remembered as TV’s “Daniel Boone” , Parker joined the navy after graduating high school. He served during World War II on board the USS Clay (APA-39) and participated in mopping-up operations in the Philippines aboard the USS YMS-334.
Actor/Director PFC Bill Bixby US Marine Corps (Served 1952-1956)
Bio: Best remembered as the human side of “The Hulk” Dr. David Banner, Bixby signed up for the Marine Corps Reserve five days after his 18th birthday, he was a senior in high school. He was honorably discharged on April 8, 1957.
Actor/Musician Cpl Burl Ives US Army (Served 1942-1945)
Bio: Burl Ives did it all. He was a songwriter, a dramatic actor, a comedic actor, an author, a musician, a folk singer, and the voice of lovable characters in children’s films and TV shows (including the Snowman in the stop-motion classic “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”). He was drafted in 1942 and served first in the Army and then in the Army Air Corps, in both services performing in shows at military installations. He was discharged in September 1945.
Actor, Cpl Charles Bronson US Army Air Corps (1943-1946)
Bio: In 1943, Bronson joined the United States Army Air Forces and served as an aircraft gunner in the 760th Flexible Gunnery Training Squadron, and in 1945 as a B-29 Superfortress crewman with the 39th Bombardment Group based on Guam.
He went on 25 Combat Missions as a Tail Gunner on the B-29’s.
Actor, PFC Ralph Waite US Marine Corps (Served 1946-1948)
Short Bio: Ralph Waite, was a multifaceted actor who became etched in the American imagination as the craggy-faced, big-hearted patriarch of a rustic, Depression-era clan in the popular 1970s television series “The Waltons”. In 1967, he starred with Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke.” He also appeared on numerous occasions as the father of Special Agent Leroy Gibbs on the highly acclaimed CBS drama NCIS.
Actor GM1 Gale Gordon US Coast Guard (1942-1945)
Bio: In 1942, Gale joined the United States Coast Guard. He joined willingly; he wasn’t drafted. He enlisted and rose to the rank of Petty Officer First Class in the three years he was in the Guard. Going on US Navy vessels his military service took him all around the most dangerous parts of the world at that time… mostly to Asia (he was stationed at the Coast Guard station at San Clemente, California, just north of Oceanside.) When on leave to visit his wife in Hollywood, he appeared on Fibber McGee and Molly in his Coast Guard uniform. For those who are proud American citizens, this program evokes a great deal of patriotism when listening to it, even though Gale, in his role as Petty Officer La Trivia, was in his normal slow burn to anger he made famous.
Gordon also played the role of Luci’s boss Mr. Mooney on CBS’s “Lucille Ball Show.”
Actor, 1st Lt. Russell Johnson, UAAF (served 1942 -1946)
Bio: He is best known for playing Roy Hinkley (usually referred to as “The Professor”), the erudite polymath who could build all sorts of inventions out of the most rudimentary materials available on the island, but, as Johnson himself pointed out, could not fix the hole in the boat. Gilligan’s Island aired from 1964 to 1967, but has been shown in reruns continuously ever since.
During the Second World War, enlisted to become an aviation cadet and rose to the officer’s rank of First Lieutenant, under the service number 765 497. Flew as Bombadier in B-25 aircraft on a total of 44 combat missions over the Netherlands, East Indies, and the Phillipines. World War II decorations include the Bronze Star, Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart, Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three service stars, Philippine Liberation Ribbon with one service star, and the World War II Victory Medal with Honorable Service Lapel Button. Earned his Purple Heart (for injuries during battle) when the B-24 Liberator bomber he was a crewman on was shot down during a bombing run against Japanese targets in the Philippine Islands in March of 1945.
Russell Johnson passed away in January of this year at the age of 89.
Country Legend Cpl George Strait US Army (Served 1971-1975)
Bio: While stationed in Hawaii, he began singing in the Army-sponsored band called Rambling Country. After returning to Texas, he put together his own band, Ace in the Hole, which gained a rather impressive local following.
Thanks to all and SO MANY others famous and not so famous who equally and proudly served for the cause of Freedom!