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Celebrity Veterans

Before you knew them as actors, musicians, politicians and important personalities, these brave men and women served their respective countries in both times of war and times of peace. This page serves as nothing more than a way to honor that legacy of commitment and service.

1930s  l  1940s  l  1950s  l  1960s  l  1970s l  1980s  l  1990s  l  2000s  l  Home

Sunday
Mar272011

Bob Barker, US Navy & Naval Reserves 1943-1960


Bob Barker
(Entertainer)
(Robert William Barker) 
b. 12 Dec 1923 d. –
US Navy 1943-1945  (World War II, F4U Pilot)
Naval Reserve 1945-1960

Bob Barker interrupted his studies at Drury College in Missouri (on a basketball scholarship) and enlisted in the United States Navy on November 24, 1942. He was assigned the service number 7033834 and became a naval aviation cadet on June 10, 1943. He was later commissioned an ensign on December 6, 1944 and served on active duty until November 24, 1945. The war ended just as he was about to be assigned to seagoing duty.

 Barker was awarded the American Campaign Medal and World War II Victory Medal. He continued to serve as a Flight Officer in the U.S. Naval Reserve and remained on the rolls until December 7, 1960, when he was discharged from service as a lieutenant junior grade.

In 2009, he gave $3 million to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which is building a rehabilitation facility for wounded U.S. military personnel at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Sunday
Mar272011

Don Adams, USMC, World War II

Don Adams as Agent 86 on Get SmartDon Adams  (Actor)
(Donald James Yarmy)
b. 13 Apr 1923  – 25 Sep 2005
US Marine Corps  
(World War II, Samoa and Guadalcanal) 

He enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1941 with his cousin Robert Karvelas and his twin brother William.  The three were in the Third Marines on Samoa until Adams was sent as a replacement to the Guadalcanal Campaign. It was in these tropical conditions that he contracted blackwater fever narrowly surviving despite its near 90% fatality rate. He spent the following year in a Navy hospital in Wellington, New Zealand recovering.  After his recovery, he returned to the United States where he served as a Marine drill instructor.

Here’s an excerpt from a National Enquirer interview with Don entitled: Don Adams: I Believe Prayer Alone Saved My Life in 1943.

“When you're only 16 and waiting to die --- you're scared”, TV star Don Adams told The ENQUIRER. It was 1943. Adams, who had enlisted in the Marines, had caught blackwater fever on Guadalcanal in the South Pacific.

After being flown to a hospital in Wellington, New Zealand, I was told nothing much could be done for me, I was just left to die. That's when I started praying. I prayed night and day that my life might be spared. Five days later I woke to find the fever and all its symptoms completely disappeared. Before that my body was so badly bloated that it was more than twice its normal size. The doctors had not scientific explanation for what seemed a miraculous recovery. Logic told them I should have died.”

“Today there are no physical indications that I ever suffered from such an ordeal. It is as though I never had blackwater fever. I believe that it was prayer and prayer alone that saved my life. At a time like that I knew the only help I could expect would be from God. He was my only hope for survival. Since that time I've been convinced someone up there is watching over every one of us.

Don Adams went on to play the carefree yet cunning Maxwell Smart on the popular television show Get Smart. He is interred in Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA. Supposedly he had wished to have a military funeral and be buried in Arlington National Cemetery. 

Sunday
Mar272011

Robert Stack - World War II, Gunnery Instructor

Robert Stack (Actor)
(Robert Langford Modini Stack) 
b. 13 Jan 1919 – d. 14 May 2003
US Navy 
(World War II, Gunnery Instructor) 

Because of his expertise as an Olympic champion skeet shooter (1937), he was assigned to teach anti-aircraft gunnery. In honor of his three years of service, Stack was awarded the World War II Victory Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, American Campaign Medal, Expert Rifle Ribbon, and Expert Pistol Ribbon.

Robert continued on a heroic path in his life eventually dedicating his work to finding America's most wanted criminals. He never stopped fighting the bad guys. 

Sunday
Mar272011

Richard Burton - Royal Air Force

Richard Burton (Actor)
(Richard Walter Jenkins) 
b. 10 Nov 1925 – d. 5 Aug 1984
UK Royal Navy
(Navigator, 1944-1947)

In 1943, during the height of World War II in Britain, Burton took advantage of an Royal Air Force recruiting scheme, which offered a short course at Oxford or Cambridge universities in exchange for future military service. It was during this time where he began his studies in acting and first performed on stage. Failing to become a pilot due to poor eyesight, he left Oxford in 1944, one of twelve prize-winning cadets to receive his commission as a navigator in the Royal Navy.

Posted to Norfolk at the end of the war, in his own words, Burton entertained himself by drinking, poaching and sleeping with every woman he could until his release from the service in 1947.

Sunday
Mar272011

Michael Caine - Royal Fusiliers 1951-1953


Michael Caine
 (Actor)
(Maurice Joseph Micklewhite) 
b. 14 Mar 1933 – d. --

Royal Fusiliers 1951-1953

After the war, the British Government started a program in which every 18 year old boy was required to complete their National Service. In 1951 Michael joined the Queens Royal Regiment and the Royal Fusiliers and served in Germany and Korea.

Here's a few words on the time he spent in Korea:

Whenever I killed someone there was no guilt, no remorse - it didn't feel real. It was during the Korean War and I was just trying to stay alive. It was self-defense. It was always done at night and we never had any idea who we had killed. I didn't even think about it - we had machine guns and we just did it. I never did anything close up or hand-to-hand. It didn't give me nightmares, because the Army brutalizes you. It was like the World War I trenches - half a mile apart - and we were just firing backwards and forwards, so we never knew who any of our victims were as individuals. You never saw the whites of a man's eyes when you killed him.

I was nearly killed. There were four of us on patrol in a valley in the middle of the rice paddies. The Chinese were closing in on us and the officer said, 'Let's run towards their line - they won't expect it because they'll be expecting us to run away towards our lines.' So we did that and we ended up going right around them. They couldn't find us because they were looking in the wrong place and we got away. But we'd faced that moment that we thought was the end.

That night we went back to our bunkers and celebrated with a beer. We were just happy to be alive . . . I faced a moment when I knew I was going to die and I didn't run, I wasn't a coward, and it affected me deeply. I was at peace with myself and that's guided my life, not just in terms of whether someone's going to kill me, but in everything. 

Upon his return to civilian life, Michael joined the Westminster Reperatory in Horsham, Sussex as an Assistant Stage Manager and began his career in the performing arts. Coincidentally his first acting role in a feature film was in “A Hill in Korea” with George Baker and Stanley Baker.

Source  Source

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