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Main | Desmond Llewelyn, British Army, 1939-1945 »

Willie Nelson, US Air Force, 1951

Willie Hugh Nelson
b. 29 Apr 1933

After graduating high school, young Willie Nelson voluntarily joined the Air Force. In the midst of the Korean War, Willie enlisted hoping to be a jet pilot. He received his first basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, but it was concluded Willie was too “absentminded” (as Willie puts it) to be in the cockpit of a jet. So the Air Force shipped him to Shepherd Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, TX, and eventually to Scott Air Force Base in Illinois for more basic training.

Eventually they made him a medic, but years of bailing hay back in Abbott, TX had given him a bad back and he was discharged after 9 months of service. 

His time in service did leave a lasting impression on Willie though and on his basic philosophy for living life. 

"I was in the Air Force a while and they had what they call "policing the area." That's where you looked around and if there's anything wrong here, there, anywhere, you took care of your own area. And I think that's a pretty good thing to go by. If everyone just takes care of their own area then we won't have any problems. Be here. Be present. Wherever you are, be there. And look around you and see what needs to be changed." Source

Nelson performing at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas for patients and staff. 2006

Despite his limited stint in the Air Force, Nelson has remained passionate about veterans issues, advocating for veteran's healthcare and supporting advocacy groups such as Operation Firing for Effect. Below are two PSA's Nelson shot in 2008 in his continued support of his fellow veterans. This, is one of a gazillion reasons why I love Willie... don't even get me started on that adorable-pie pic of him in his uniform. 

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