Famous Veteran: Beau Bridges

Actor Beau Bridges cherishes the time he served in the Coast Guard. (Courtesy photo)

The Bridges family is no stranger to military service. Lloyd Bridges, more commonly known as Beau, is no exception.

The oldest child of Lloyd and Dorothy Bridges, he was born Dec. 9, 1941, and became the first among his siblings to join the Coast Guard. His father was a veteran and helped usher his son into military service after he studied at UCLA, then the University of Hawaii.

Bridges fondly remembers his time serving in the Coast Guard. He credits military service for teaching him how to prepare adequately for whatever happens in life. He learned and has since adopted the idea that he should always be ready for life's trials, and to prepare himself physically and mentally for whatever lies ahead.

Furthermore, he firmly holds dear the concept of respect as more than a word, but something people should give to themselves, their colleagues and their duties.

"I think it prepared me for life, my training in the Coast Guard," Bridges said. "It was a peacetime service, so I didn't see any wartime action, but I learned a lot about life. How to take care of myself. How to be of service to other people."

Life in the Coast Guard required a great deal of responsibility and hard work, but Bridges found strong camaraderie with his fellow service members. Comparing the Coast Guard to a second family, Bridges' service ended just before the start of the Vietnam War.

Although he had separated, many of his friends remained, and some died. These experiences contributed to his belief that returning veterans currently receive inadequate care and attention, and should receive more respect than they currently do.

In the Coast Guard, Bridges' main line of work was as a cook's helper on a buoy tender. When his ship, the USS Dexter, sailed out of port, Bridges was greeted by an ocean that provided unforgettable awe and beauty.

"But I mostly remember the beauty of being out at sea," Bridges said. "It's just a wonderful feeling. The ocean is so powerful, but it can be so still and peaceful. Even if you're on the beach, you can look out at 180 degrees of nothing but [the] horizon. When you're out at sea, of course, you get 360 degrees.

"If you got that watch and you're out there by yourself in the morning, it's beautiful. Nothing matches it. You can't be fooled by the ocean."

Bridges found steady work in the acting business as early as 1948 in the film "Force of Evil." Since then, he's enjoyed success with a wide variety of roles in several genres.

He played a brother to his actual brother's character in "The Fabulous Baker Boys," as well as "Greased Lightning" and others. To sci-fi aficionados, he is known for playing Maj. Gen. Hank Landry in the Stargate franchise.

After well over 60 years of acting, Bridges is still going strong with a role in the upcoming film "Underdog Kids."

Keep Up With the Best in Military Entertainment

Whether you're looking for news and entertainment, thinking of joining the military or keeping up with military life and benefits, Military.com has you covered. Subscribe to the Military.com newsletter to have military news, updates and resources delivered straight to your inbox.

Story Continues