The List of U.S. Presidents by military service reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Apr-2004
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List of U.S. Presidents by military service

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The United States Constitution names the President of the United States the commander in chief of the U.S armed forces. However, previous service in the military is not a pre-requisite for the position of president. The following list outlines the military service (or lack) of each president before becoming the commander in chief.

George W. Bush: served as a pilot in the Texas National Guard.

Bill Clinton: none.

George H. W. Bush: served in the United States Navy, attaining the rank of lieutenant (junior grade). He was the youngest pilot in the navy during World War II (age 19). He earned the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Ronald Reagan: served as a second lieutenant in the Army Reserve; served in the United States Army during World War II, attaining the rank of major. He was barred from combat because of poor eyesight. He narrated pre-flight training films under the Army Air Force Motion Picture Unit.

Jimmy Carter: served in the United States Navy (1946-1953), attaining the rank of lieutenant senior grade.

Gerald Ford: served in the United States Navy during World War II, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander. He earned 10 battle stars.

Richard Nixon: served in the United States Navy during World War II, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander.

Lyndon B. Johnson: served in the United States Navy during World War II, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander. He earned a Silver Star.

John F. Kennedy: served in the United States Navy during World War II, attaining the rank of lieutenant. He earned a Purple Heart for his courage in the PT-109 incident.

Dwight D. Eisenhower: attended West Point; served in the United States Army (1915-1948; 1951-1952), attaining the rank of five-star general, and was Supreme Allied Commander in World War II.

Harry S. Truman: served in the Missouri National Guard (1905-1911; 1917); served with the 129th Field Artillery (1917-1919), attaining the rank of major.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: none.

Herbert Hoover: none.

Calvin Coolidge: none.

Warren G. Harding: none.

Woodrow Wilson: none.

William Howard Taft: none.

Theodore Roosevelt: served as a member of the New York national guard (1882-1885); served as commander of the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment during the Spanish American War, attaining the rank of colonel.

William McKinley: served with the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry during the American Civil War, attaining the rank of brevet major.

Benjamin Harrison: served with the 70th Indiana Infantry Regiment during the American Civil War, attaining the rank of brigadier general.

Grover Cleveland: none. He was drafted during the American Civil War, but paid $150 for a substitute (a legal option under the terms of the Conscription Act of 1863).

Chester A. Arthur: served in the New York State militia (1858-1862) and fought in the American Civil War, attaining the rank as quartermaster general.

James A. Garfield: served in the American Civil War, attaining the rank of major general.

Rutherford B. Hayes: served in the American Civil War with the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment, attaining the rank of major general.

Ulysses S. Grant: attended West Point; served in the Mexican War and the American Civil War, attaining the rank of general of the army, the first since Washington to do so.

Andrew Johnson: served in the American Civil War, attaining the rank of brigadier general.

Abraham Lincoln: served in the Black Hawk War, attaining the rank of captain, but was reprimanded twice and re-enlisted as a private.

James Buchanan: served in the War of 1812.

Franklin Pierce: served in the Mexican-American War, attaining the rank of colonel.

Millard Fillmore: None.

Zachary Taylor: served in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Second Seminole War, and the Mexican-American War, attaning the rank of major general. He became a national hero because of his achievements in the Mexican-American War.

James K. Polk: served in a militia cavalry regiment, attaining the rank of colonel.

John Tyler: served in the War of 1812, attaning the rank of captain.

William Henry Harrison: served in the U.S. Army (1791-1798, 1812-1814), attaning the rank of major general in the War of 1812 and became a national hero after his success at the Battle of the Thames.

Martin Van Buren: none.

Andrew Jackson: served at the age of 13 with the Continental Army (1780) during the American Revolution as a messenger, and was held as a prisoner of war (the only U.S. president to do so); served in the War of 1812, attaining the rank of general and became a national hero after his success at the Battle of New Orleans.

John Quincy Adams: none.

James Monroe: served in the Continental Army (1776-1778) during the American Revolution, attaining the rank of major. Monroe was among those who crossed the Delaware with Washington.

James Madison: served in the Orange County militia of Virginia (1775) during the American Revolutionary War, attaning the rank of colonel.

Thomas Jefferson: none.

John Adams: none.

George Washington: served in the Virginia militia (1752-1758), attaining the rank of colonel; served as commander in chief of the Continental Army (1775-1783) during the American Revolutionary War, with the rank of general.