True or False... Presidents of the United States should have military experience?
Well the truth is it's not a requirement and there have been plenty presidents without it. Critics are quick to remind us that the President of the United States is indeed the Commander in Chief of our armed forces, with or without previous experience.
Can you do this country a service and match the president to his branch of service?
From George Washington to George W. Bush, 32 presidents have come into office with some form of military service. Fifteen were in the Army or Army Reserve, nine were in various state militias, six were in the Navy or Naval Reserve, and two once served in the Continental Army. Most even served during wartime! But did you notice that no member of the Marine Corps or Coast Guard has ever been elected President? Well, in today's day and age, it's just a matter of time before another veteran of any branch campaigns for a shot at the presidency.
For now, the time has come to begin the ultimate presidential military service quiz! Will you fit the bill or will you be dishonorably discharged from this quiz? Good luck and remember, keep your head down and keep on grindin'!
Did you know that Dwight D. Eisenhower was a 5-star general? He served as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War II. He later became the 34th President of the United States.
George H. W. Bush, also known as 41, is a veteran of the United States Navy. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Bush decided to postpone his education and enlist in the Navy and became the youngest Navy aviator at the time.
Ronald Reagan enlisted in the Army Reserve and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Officers' Reserve Corps of the Cavalry on May 25, 1937. He later became the 40th President of the United States on January 20, 1981.
Jimmy Carter was President of the United States from 1977 - 1981. Prior to that he was the Governor of Georgia, as well as a member of the Georgia Senate. As a Lieutenant in the Navy, Carter went on to earn the following military awards: American Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, China Service Medal, and National Defense Service Medal.
Did you know that Gerald Ford is the only person to have served as vice president and president without being elected to either office?! After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Ford enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve and served for four years, earning the rank of lieutenant commander.
Did you know that Ulysses S. Grant was educated at the United States Military Academy? He went on to serve in the Army, reaching the ranks of General during the Civil War. He is credited with leading the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy alongside Abraham Lincoln.
Barack Obama may not have served in the US military, but he led as Commander in Chief for his eight years in office. He is remembered for his work on withdrawing US troops from Iraq as well as the death of Osama bin Laden.
Lyndon B. Johnson served in the Naval Reserve, earning the rank of Commander. During World War II, he received a Silver Star for his actions while aboard an aircraft which came under Japanese attack.
John F. Kennedy graduated from Harvard University in 1940 and joined the United States Naval Reserve from 1941 - 1945. He served in combat in World War II, receiving the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, as well as a Purple Heart. Both are now on display at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum.
Harry S. Truman was born in Lamar, Missouri in 1884. By the age of 20, he was serving in combat in France during World War I, and did not retire from his military service until 1953!
William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States from 1909 - 1913. Did you know that after his presidency, he joined the Connecticut State Guard? This unit was formed to protect the state while the Connecticut National Guard served on active duty.
During his military career, James Madison earned the rank of Colonel in the Virginia Militia. Did you know that he was the only United States President to command troops in the field?
William McKinley began his military career as an enlisted soldier during the American Civil War. He retired as a brevet major in the Union Army after a total of four years in service.
Benjamin Harrison commanded an infantry brigade as a brigadier general during the Civil War. He fought and led his troops at the battles of Resaca, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Peachtree Creek and Atlanta!
Chester Alan Arthur was the 21st President of the United States. Prior to that he served in the New York Militia from 1857 - 1863, earning the ranks of quartermaster general!
James Garfield served in the Army from 1861 - 1863, fighting with the Ohio Volunteer Infantry at the battles of Middle Creek, Shiloh, Corinth and Chickamauga. He later served as the 20th President of the United States from 1881 until his assassination six months later.
Rutherford B. Hayes was the 19th President of the United States. He fought with the 23rd Ohio Infantry of the Union Army and was seriously wounded in action during the Battle of the South Mountain.
Bill Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States serving two terms from 1993 - 2001. While he never actually served in the military, as President he commanded military intervention in the Bosnian and Kosovo wars, signed the Iraq Liberation Act and helped to advance the peace processes in Israel, Palestine and Northern Ireland.
Andrew Johnson served in the Tennessee Militia of the Union Army from 1862 - 1865. He earned the rank of Brigadier General and fought in the Civil War before becoming Vice President and then President of the United States
Abraham Lincoln served just three months in the Illinois State Militia from April - July 1832. He is better remembered for leading the nation through the Civil War, preserving the Union and writing the Emancipation Proclamation.
James Buchanan was the 15th President of the United States, serving from 1857 - 1861. Did you know that he only served two months in the Pennsylvania State Militia? He left to become a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.
Theodore Roosevelt was a colonel in the United States Army from 1882 - 1886, and later the New York Army National Guard in 1898. He fought in the Spanish-American War and was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001!
Millard Fillmore was born in Moravia, New York on January 7, 1800. He served in the New York State Militia before a long political career, beginning as a congressman in 1837 and ending as the 13th President of the United States in 1850.
Zachary Taylor was a Major General in the United States Army. Did you know that his entire military career spanned 4- years? He served from 1808 - 1848, seeing action in four different wars!
Did you know that Richard Nixon could have been exempt from the draft since he was a birthright Quaker? He chose not to accept this exemption though, instead joined the Navy and was appointed lieutenant on June 15, 1942.
John Tyler was a captain of the Charles City Rifles of the Virginia Militia Company in 1813. He later became the 10th President of the United States on April 4, 1841 following the death of William Henry Harrison.
William Henry Harrison was commissioned as an ensign in the U.S. Army, 1st Infantry Regiment when he was just 18 years old. He would later grow to the rank of Major General and fight in three separate wars. President Harrison died of pneumonia after just 31 days in office.
Andrew Jackson's military career was quite vast. He led many troops as major general in 13 different battles and wars. Following his military success and popularity, he served in both houses of Congress and became the 7th President of the United States in 1829.
James Monroe served as a major in the Continental Army from 1775 - 1777. He fought in the American Revolutionary War - Battle of Trenton - in which he was wounded with a musket ball to the shoulder!
George W. Bush was commissioned as a lieutenant in the Texas Air National Guard in 1968 and honorably discharged in 1974. It would be nearly 21 years before he was elected Governor of Texas, and then President of the United States in 2001.
Thomas Jefferson was a colonel in the Virginia militia at the start of the American Revolution in 1765. He went on to hold a variety of political offices, culminating in the Presidency in 1801.
George Washington led a long and revered military career beginning as a Colonel in the British Army, then Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and finally Lieutenant General of the United States Army. Did you know that he was posthumously promoted to General of the Armies by an Act of Congress in 1976?
Woodrow Wilson never actually served in the military, but did you know that he led the country during World War I? It was during this time that he championed an ideology known today as Wilsonianism - which included his Fourteen Points to help create world peace.
Franklin Pierce was a graduate of Bowdoin College and Northampton Law School. Born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire, he rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Army , leading troops through five different battles in the Mexican-American War.
James K. Polk was the 11th President of the United States and served from 1845 - 1849. Prior to his time in office, he served as a captain in the cavalry unit of the Tennessee State Militia. He was later appointed colonel by Governor William Carroll.