Famous Veterans

  • Arnold Palmer on golf course
    In Remembrance: 10 Famous Veterans Who Passed in 2016
    2016 saw the passing of many notable veterans. Here we celebrate a few of those who left us, and honor their achievements.
  • Bea Arthur
    Seven Famous Women Veterans
    From a computer genius to a popular sitcom star, talented women have made their mark in the U.S. military.
  • Morgan Freeman headshot.
    Famous Veteran: Morgan Freeman
    "I did three years, eight months, and ten days in all, but it took me a year and a half to get disabused of my romantic notions."
  • Chuck Norris
    Famous Veterans: Chuck Norris
    The martial arts superstar first started honing his skills while on duty in the Air Force during the Korean War.
  • Mr. T
    Famous Veterans: Mr. T
    Before he went on to fame as B.A. Baracus on "The A-Team," Mr. T was a member of the biggest team of them all -- the U.S. Army.
  • Bob Ross with a completed painting
    Famous Veteran: Bob Ross
    "I was the guy who makes you scrub the latrine, the guy who makes you make your bed, the guy who screams at you for being late ...
  • Clint Eastwood
    Famous Veterans: Clint Eastwood
    The famous actor and director got an early start on developing his tough-guy persona when he worked as a bouncer at the NCO clu...
  • Gene Hackman in the "French Connection."
    Famous Veteran: Gene Hackman
    "I have trouble with direction, because I have trouble with authority. I was not a good Marine."

Black History Month: Overview

Merryl Tengesdal
Lt. Col. Merryl Tengesdal was the first African-American woman to fly the U-2 reconnaissance plane.

Each February, during Black History Month, the nation remembers the important contributions African-Americans have made throughout U.S. history. The recognition of African-American/Black History Month (AA/BHM) originated in 1926 as "Negro History Week." Led by American historian and author Carter G. Woodson, who founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, it recognized the contributions of African Americans to the country and fostered a better understanding of the African-American experience. In 1976, President Gerald Ford issued the first African-American History Month proclamation, calling upon the American people to celebrate the event each February.

In 1986, Congress passed Public Law 99-244 which designated February 1986 as "National Black (Afro-American) History Month." President Obama, in his 2013 African-American History Month proclamation said, "This dream of equality and fairness has never come easily -- but it has always been sustained by the belief that in America, change is possible. Today, because of that hope, coupled with the hard and painstaking labor of Americans sung and unsung, we live in a moment when the dream of equal opportunity is within reach for people of every color and creed."

Military.com celebrates African-Americans who have contributed to, and sacrificed for, the U.S. military with the following features and profiles.

Fighting for Respect: African-American Soldiers in World War I
World War I was a pivotal moment in world history, and it was also an important moment for African-Americans who made huge contributions to the U.S. war effort.

The Tuskegee Airmen
"The Tuskegee story is an important civil rights story of Americans who happen to be black, in service to their country, their family, and to their friends -- in that order."

The Montford Point Marines
Between 1942 and 1949, approximately 20,000 African-American men completed recruit training at Montford Point, North Carolina, and became known as the "Montford Point Marines." Their valor and performance would pave the way for our present integrated armed forces.

Clark Simmons: Profile
"When you joined the Navy there was only one branch…open to you, and that was serving the officers."

An African-American Military Family Remembers Its Roots
"My children know that military people are different, and are warmer and more accepting. They do notice a difference."

Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.: Profile
On Oct. 25, 1940, Benjamin O. Davis Sr. became the first African American to hold star rank in the U.S. Army and in the armed forces.

Colin Powell: Profile
General Colin Powell was the first African-American chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the U.S. Army.

Lt. Col. Harriet West Waddy: Profile
Waddy's career spanned a quarter century of our country's years of segregation, and in the process she was one of only two African-American women to attain the rank of major in the WACs during World War II.

Roscoe Robinson Jr.: Profile
Gen. Roscoe Robinson Jr., was the first African-American officer to rise to the rank of Army four-star general.

William H. Carney: Profile
Carney and 46 other African-American volunteers from New Bedford were assigned to the Union Army's Company C of the 54th, and their performance in a Civil War battle would soon silence those who predicted "the Negro would not fight."

William Pinckney: Profile
For his heroism during Guadalcanal, Navy Cook First Class William Pinckney was eventually awarded the Navy Cross -- the second African American to receive the honor.

Related Topics

Black History Month Military History