The names of soldiers and sailors who became famous because of their military service are etched in U.S. history books. George Washington, Theordore Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Colin Powell and “Stormin’” Norman Schwarzkopf made names for themselves while serving in the military.
You likely have even heard of some veterans who achieved fame before or after their service. Elvis Presley was an established star when he was drafted into the Army in 1957. He would end up meeting his future wife, Priscilla, while stationed in Germany.
Adam “Kylo Ren” Driver’s military history also is well known. He joined the Marines shortly after 9/11 and served for two years before an injury forced him to be medically discharged. After leaving the Marines, he attended The Juilliard School, the renowned performing arts conservatory in New York City.
Somewhat surprisingly, there are a number of other famous people who served in the armed forces, some with Colorado ties.
Jimi Hendrix — One of the greatest guitarists in music history enlisted in the military in 1961 at the age of 19. He was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and was honorably discharged in 1962 after an injury.
Morgan Freeman — The Academy Award winner joined the Air Force in 1955. He was a radar technician for four years before leaving the service and moving to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.
James Earl Jones — The legendary actor was an officer in the Army during the Korean War. He trained at Camp Hale, near Leadville, before being discharged.
Flip Wilson — The comedian, whose first name is actually Clerow, was given the nickname “Flip” by fellow airmen while serving in the Air Force. Wilson got his comedy start performing at the Cotton Club run by Fannie Mae Duncan in Colorado Springs.
Bob Barker — The former host of “The Price is Right” trained as a fighter pilot. He left college in 1943 for flight training with the Naval Reserve, but World War II ended before he was given an active- duty assignment.
Alec Guiness — The original Obi-Wan Kenobi took a break from his acting career to join the United Kingdom’s Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve in 1941. He would later serve as an officer on a landing craft during the Normandy invasion on D-Day.
Pat Sajak — The “Wheel of Fortune” host joined the Army in 1968. He worked as a DJ for Armed Forces Radio.
Charles Bronson — Known for strong, quiet characters, Bronson joined the Army in 1943 and served as an aircraft gunner. He was awarded a Purple Heart before leaving the military in 1946.
MC Hammer — Born Stanley Burrell, the future rapper spent three years in the Navy as an aviation storekeeper.
Dr. Ruth — The diminutive sex therapist was trained as a sniper in the late 1940s in what would eventually become the Israel Defense Force.
Bob Ross — The artist best known for painting “happy little trees” spent 20 years in the Air Force, part of that time as a drill sergeant, before becoming famous for his TV show, “The Joy of Painting.”
Ice-T — Born Tracy Marrow, the future rapper spent four years in the Army before pursuing a career in music.
Chuck Norris — The action star served in the Air Force as a police airman. He learned martial arts while stationed in Korea.
Rob Riggle — The actor/comedian spent more than 20 years in the Marines and retired as a lieutenant colonel.
Bea Arthur — Before she was “Maude” and one of the “Golden Girls,” Arthur was a Marine. She worked as a typist and drove trucks.
Mel Brooks — The famous funnyman was drafted into the Army during World War II. He worked as a combat engineer, defusing land mines.
Gal Gadot — After being named Miss Israel in 2004, the future Wonder Woman served two years in the Israel Defense Force as a physical fitness specialist.
Johnny Carson — The late- night talk show host joined the Navy in 1943. He would later be assigned to the USS Pennsylvania near the end of World War II.
George Carlin — A radar technician in the Air Force, Carlin was court-martialed three times before eventually being given a general discharge.
Gazette TV critic Terry Terrones is a member of the Television Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @terryterrones.