The music genre beloved by patriots from sea to shining sea has been performed by a number of men and women in uniform over the years. Some of them even found fame and hit the country music charts. Did you know that these country musicians also served their country?
1. Conway Twitty: The Grand Ole Opry superstar had two passions in his youth: country music and baseball. His chance to play ball with the Philadelphia Phillies was cut short when he was drafted into the Army during the Korean War.
2. Craig Morgan: Tennessee-born Morgan served in the U.S. Army with the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions for almost a decade before transitioning into the Army Reserve for an additional six and a half years. Morgan continues to support the Special Operations Warrior Foundation as an active fundraiser.
3. George Jones: The legendary star whom some have called “the greatest country singer of all time” was also a U.S. Marine. Although the Korean War was still being fought when he was discharged in 1953, Jones’s tour of duty was served entirely within the state of California.
4. George Strait: The King of Country enlisted in the Army in 1971. Strait was stationed with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks in Honolulu, Hawaii, where an Army-sponsored country & western band made him its lead singer. He was honorably discharged in 1975.
5. James Otto: The “Just Got Started Lovin’ You” singer was born on in Army base, so it only seemed fitting he would carry on the family tradition of military service. Otto chose the U.S. Navy and served for two years.
6. Jamey Johnson: The Alabama-born singer/songwriter served for eight years in the Marine Corps Reserve. As a mortarman, he rose to the rank of corporal with the 3rd Battalion 23rd Marines.
7. Jerry Reed: The Guitar Man served in the Army from 1957 to 1959, where he performed in the U.S. Army Field Band. He was still serving active duty when he signed his first contract with Columbia Records.
8. Johnny Cash: Cash joined the Air Force in 1950. He was stationed in Landsberg, Germany, where he intercepted Morse Code transmissions from the Soviet Union. He was honorably discharged in 1954 at the rank of Staff Sergeant.
9. Kris Kristofferson: Kristofferson’s immigrant grandfather had been an officer in the army of his native Sweden and his father served in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Carrying on his family’s tradition, the “For the Good Times” singer (and Rhodes scholar) was a U.S. Army Ranger with the 8th Infantry Division, stationed in West Germany in the early 1960s. Given the chance to teach at West Point in 1965, he chose to leave the Army to pursue his musical career.
10. Willie Nelson: Nelson was only 17 years old when he joined the Air Force in 1950. His military career lasted less than nine months, after which he was honorably discharged due to a bad back.