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15 Veterans Of The Cold War Who Went On To Be Famous

Is This Tomorrow Propaganda
The Cold War waged on from roughly 1947 to about 1991. While every veteran is a hero, some are known for more than their military service. Here's a list of some veterans of the Cold War who went on to fame and notoriety after doing their patriotic duty.
15. George C. Marshall
President Truman, George C. Marshall, Paul Hoffman and Averell Harriman in the Oval Office
Wikimedia Commons
One of the most decorated and respected soldiers in American history, Former Secretary of State George C. Marshall outlined an economic recovery program for Europe in 1947. The Marshall Plan, as it eventually became known, helped win Marshall the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.

14. Vasili Arkhipov

Soviet B-59 Submarine
Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov may have been a Soviet Navy Officer and thus on the other side of the war, but he certainly saved lives all over the world on Oct. 27, 1962. When two senior officers green lit a plan to launch a nuclear torpedo, Arkhipov refused to be the third, cementing his place in history and saving countless lives.

13. Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris in Iraq in 2006
That is absolutely correct. You can add breaking backs and taking names in the United States Air Force (circa 1958) to actor Chuck Norris' lengthy resume. Although, interestingly enough, Norris broke his own shoulder, he was still able to earn belts in Tang Soo Do and Judo before leaving South Korea. The legend continues...

12. George Carlin

George Carlin Taken From Jesus Is Coming..Look Busy
Comedian and wise soothsayer George Carlin joined the U.S. Air Force in 1954. Trained as a Radar Technician, Carlin also worked as a disc jockey for KJOE while stationed.

11. Alan Alda

Alan Alda Jamie Farr Hawkeye and Klinger MASH 1977
Looks like ole Hawkeye wasn't entirely cut out to be a part of those "army clowns" after all. Though actor Alan Alda, who played Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce in the television series, M*A*S*H*, served a year at Fort Benning, he spent six months in the U.S. Army Reserves before coming back to attend university in 1956. Aren't we glad you did!

10. Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen The Great St.Louis Bank Robbery 1959
When actor Steve McQueen joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1947, who knew he would be promoted to Private First Class, demoted to Private several times and spend 41 days in the brig, before being honorably discharged in 1950?

9. James Earl Jones

James Earl Jones
Wikimedia Commons
The war was already heating up (if you can call it that) in 1953, when Second Lieutenant James Earl Jones was commissioned to Fort Benning to begin an Infantry Officers Basic Training Course. Jones was promoted to First Lieutenant prior to his discharge.

8. Harvey Keitel

Harvey Keitel and Harry Belafonte
David Shankbone
Actor Harvey Keitel not only served in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1958, but he was also reportedly in Lebanon during Operation Blue Bat.

7. Senator Joseph McCarthy

Senator Joseph McCarthy
Though Senator Joseph McCarthy served in the U.S. Marine Corps in World War II, he left a profound stain on America during the Cold War. His exploitation of the fear of Communism destroyed the lives and careers of many innocent people, notably singer and actor Paul Robeson, and former editor for the Institute of Pacific Relations Owen Lattimore.

6. Kris Kristofferson

Kris Kristofferson
After joining the U.S. Army and receiving flight training at Fort Rucker, Alabama actor Kris Kristofferson was stationed in West Germany in the 1960s. In addition to acting, Kristofferson went on to win the esteemed "Veteran of The Year" award in 2003.

5. Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy
Gage Skidmore
Late and great, indeed. The accomplished actor left the U.S. Army Reserves in 1955 with the rank of Sergeant. He will be missed.

4. Morgan Freeman

Morgan Freeman Golden Kamera
Wikimedia Commons
Actor Morgan Freeman served in the U.S. Air Force in 1955 as a Radar Technician. He left in 1959 as an Airman First Class.

3. Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash Receives an Award from a Marine Sergeant
Wikimedia Commons
Before that voice of velvety grit was known worldwide, singer and songwriter Johnny Cash enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1950. Cash was reportedly the first radio operator to pick up news of Dictator Joseph Stalin's death. Cash was honorably discharged in 1954.

2. Willie Nelson

Willie Nelson May 2012
Wikimedia Commons
Singer and songwriter Willie Nelson joined the U.S. Air Force in 1950, but served only eight to nine months due medical issues.

1. Gene Hackman

Gene Hackman Book Signing
Actor Gene Hackman joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1947. Though demoted more than once for leaving his post without permission, Hackman was wise enough to make the G.I. Bill work for him, studying Journalism and TV production at the University of Illinois.

**Honorary Mention** Elvis

Elvis gets measured for uniform
Google Images
Though famed singing icon Elvis Presley was already a smash hit maker by the time he entered the war in 1958, you just can’t leave the King off the list.
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