American Presidents Who Served in the U.S. Military

 

Many American presidents served in the military, but also quite a few did not serve. Of those who did serve, one (Washington), served as an officer in a non-American military (he was a militia officer when the British still ruled the original 13 states), and only one (Teddy Roosevelt), won the Medal of Honor.

 

George Washington- Virginia Regiment (British army) during the French and Indian War. Served as a general in the U.S. Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War.

John Adams-No military service

Thomas Jefferson- Virginia Militia during the American Revolutionary War. Did not see action.

James Madison- Virginia Militia during the American Revolutionary War. Did not see action.

James Monroe-Army officer during the American Revolutionary War. Monroe served in several battles, and was wounded at the Battle of Trenton.

John Quincy Adams-No military service.

Andrew Jackson-Served as a courier for American militia units at age 13 in the American Revolutionary War . He was captured by the British and held prisoner. While a captive, he was beaten by a British officer for refusing to polish the man's boots. Jackson's brothers both died during the war (one in battle, the other due to illness while a prisoner with Andrew). Also, his mother died of illness while in British captivity. He commanded American troops in the War of 1812, and the Creek War, and the First Seminole War.

Martin Van Buren-No military service.

William Harrison-U.S. Army officer in the Northwest Indian War and in the War of 1812.

John Tyler- Militia officer during the War of. Did not see combat.

James Polk-Tennessee State Militia officer. Did not see combat.

Zachary Taylor-U.S. Army in theWar of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Second Seminole War, and the Mexican-American War.

Millard Filmore-New York State Militia during the American Civil War. Did not see combat.

Franklin Pierce-U.S. Army officer in the Mexican-American War. He was wounded at the Battle of Contreras.

James Buchanan-Pennsylvania State Militia in the War of 1812. When the British invaded neighboring Maryland in 1814, Buchanan enlisted as a private in Henry Shippen's Company, 1st Brigade, 4th Division, of the Pennsylvania Militia, and served in the defense of Baltimore. Buchanan is the only president with military experience who never served as an officer.

Abraham Lincoln-Illinois State Militia officer in the Black Hawk War. Did not see combat.

Andrew Johnson-Appointed as Brigadier General and Military Governor of Tennessee during the American Civil War.

Ulysses S. Grant-U.S. Army officer in the Mexican-American War, and a general in the American Civil War.

Rutherford B. Hayes-U.S. Army officer in the American Civil War. Hayes was wounded at the Battle of South Mountain.

James Garfield-U.S. Army officer in the American Civil War. Saw action in several battles, and served as Chief of Staff to General Rosencrans.

Chester A. Arthur-New York State Militia as aQuartermaster officer during the American Civil War. Did not see combat.

Grover Cleveland-No military service.

Benjamin Harrison-U.S. Army Brigadier General in the American Civil War. Participated in many battles and campaigns, including Sherman's March to the Sea.

William McKinley-U.S. Army officer in the American Civil War. Participated in many battles, including the Shenendoah Valley Campaigns. Had a horse shot out from under him.

Theodore Roosevelt-U.S. Army officer in the Spanish-American War. Teddy Roosevelt remains the only President to receive the Medal of Honor.

William Taft-No military service.

Woodrow Wilson-No military service.

Warren Harding-No military service.

Calvin Coolidge-No military service.

Herbert Hoover-No military service.

Franklin D. Roosevelt-No military service.

Harry Truman-U.S. Army and U.S. Army Reserve officer in World War One. Commanded an artillery unit in France and saw combat.

Dwight D. Eisenhower-U.S. Army officer during World War One, though he served stateside and did not see combat. Served as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War Two.

John F. Kennedy-U.S. Navy officer in the Pacific Theater of World War Two. Kennedy received the Purple Heart and Navy and Marine Corps Medals.

Lyndon B. Johnson-U.S. Naval Reserve during World War Two. Johnson was in an airplane when it was attacked in the Pacific by the Japanese. Other than that incident, he did not see combat.

Richard Nixon-U.S. Naval Reserve officer during World War Two. He served as a logistics officer in the Pacific and did not see combat.

Gerald Ford-U.S. Naval Reserve officer during World War Two. He served on board naval ships that saw extensive combat in the Pacific.

Jimmy Carter-U.S. Navy officer. Served during World War Two at the Naval Academy, but received his commission after the war ended. Carter served stateside during the Korean War.

Ronald Reagan-Reserve officer during World War Two. Reagan served stateside during the war.

George H. W. Bush-U.S. Naval Reserve officer during World War Two. He saw combat as a pilot in the Pacific and was shot down by the Japanese. Bush won the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Bill Clinton-No military service. Received draft deferment during the Vietnam War.

George W. Bush-Texas Air National Guard officer and pilot. Bush served stateside during Vietnam War.

Barack Obama-No military service.

Donald J. Trump-No military service. Received draft deferment during the Vietnam War.

 

 


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