- List of Presidents of the United States by military service
The United States Constitution names the President of the United States the commander in chief of the US armed forces. However, previous service in the military is not a pre-requisite for the position of president. As of the 2008 presidential election[update], no member of the US Marine Corps or US Coast Guard has yet been elected President. The most frequent military experience is Army/Army Reserve with 15 presidents, followed by State Militias at 9, Navy/Naval Reserve at 6 and the Continental Army with 2 presidents serving. The following list outlines the military service of each president before becoming the commander in chief.
President Service Rank Active Service Barack Obama None None None George W. Bush Texas Air National Guard First Lieutenant Stateside service during Vietnam War (1968–1973). Bill Clinton None None None George H.W. Bush United States Naval Reserve Lieutenant World War II (1942–1945) Distinguished Flying Cross Ronald Reagan United States Army Reserve, United States Army Air Corps Captain Stateside service during World War II (1942–1945); Army Reserve (1937–1942) See also: List of United States Presidents by military rank and Ronald Reagan for more information on military service. Jimmy Carter United States Navy Lieutenant World War II at the United States Naval Academy Sea duty and stateside service 1946-1953 during the Korean War Gerald Ford United States Naval Reserve Lieutenant Commander World War II (1942–1945; combat on USS Monterey, discharged in 1946) Richard Nixon United States Naval Reserve Commander World War II (1942–1945) Lyndon B. Johnson United States Naval Reserve Commander World War II received Silver Star medal after airplane he was riding in was attacked by enemy aircraft John F. Kennedy United States Navy Lieutenant World War II received Navy and Marine Corps Medal and Purple Heart Dwight D. Eisenhower United States Army General of the Army Stateside service during World War I. Served as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War II (1942–1945). Visited troops in Korea in December 1952. Entire active-duty career spanned from 1915 until 1952. Harry S. Truman United States Army, United States Army Reserve Colonel World War I (1917–1918); was then transferred to the army reserve and retired in 1953. Franklin D. Roosevelt None None None; however Witnessed World War I while serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in France Herbert Hoover None None None; however he did help guide US Marines in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion Calvin Coolidge None None None Warren G. Harding None None None Woodrow Wilson None None None William Howard Taft None None None; United States Secretary of War 1904-1908 Theodore Roosevelt United States Army Colonel Spanish–American War – only U.S. President to receive the Medal of Honor (awarded posthumously in 2001) William McKinley United States Army Brevet Major American Civil War Benjamin Harrison United States Army Brigadier General American Civil War Grover Cleveland None None None Chester A. Arthur New York State Militia Brigadier General Served as Quartermaster General before and during the American Civil War (1858–1865). James Garfield United States Army Major General American Civil War (1861–1863; left the army to serve in the United States House of Representatives). Rutherford B. Hayes United States Army Major General American Civil War Ulysses S. Grant United States Army General of the Army Mexican-American War and American Civil War; served 1843-1854 and 1861-1868. Andrew Johnson United States Army Brigadier General American Civil War; served as Military Governor of Tennessee in 1862. Abraham Lincoln Illinois State Militia Captain Black Hawk War (served three months in 1832); see Abraham Lincoln in the Black Hawk War. James Buchanan Pennsylvania State Militia Private War of 1812 Franklin Pierce United States Army Brigadier General Mexican-American War Millard Fillmore New York State Militia Major American Civil War Zachary Taylor United States Army Major General War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Second Seminole War, Mexican-American War; entire career spanned from 1808 until 1848. James K. Polk Tennessee State Militia Colonel Joined local militia, but never fought in any war during his service John Tyler United States Army Captain War of 1812 William Henry Harrison United States Army Major General Northwest Indian War, War of 1812 Martin Van Buren None None None Andrew Jackson North Carolina militia, United States Army General American Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Creek War, First Seminole War John Quincy Adams None None None; however he was a witness to Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 and reportedly was a non-participant in a Naval Battle between a British ship and a US ship he was on with his father during the American Revolution. James Monroe Continental Army Major American Revolutionary War James Madison Virginia militia Colonel American Revolutionary War, did not see action Thomas Jefferson Virginia militia Colonel Administrative position, did not see action. As Governor of Virginia, fled during British raid to avoid capture John Adams None None Adams served as chairman of the Continental Congress's Board of War (1776–1777), making him the simultaneous equivalent of today's Secretary of Defense and Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee; was a semi-participant in a naval engagement between a British and US ship during the American Revolution. George Washington Virginia militia, Virginia Regiment, Continental Army General of the Armies French and Indian War, American Revolutionary War
- ^ President Lyndon B. Johnson's Military Service Lyndon Baines Johnson Library & Museum
- ^ "Military Personnel File of Harry S. Truman". Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. http://www.trumanlibrary.org/hstpaper/rg407.htm. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
Presidential trivia lists
Lists relating to Presidents of the United States and Vice Presidents of the United States Presidential lists by order Professional careers Personal life Vice presidential lists Succession Elections Candidates In fiction Families
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