REAL AMERICAN ACTORS & HEROES that served our Great Country and kept us SAFE


These were all heroes that made America great and helped win the war. Back then the men in Hollywood were real men that loved their country and went to war to protect it!

  • Alan Hale – Jr. – US Coast Guard.
  • Aldo Ray – US Navy. UDT frogman- Okinawa.
  • Art Carney US Army. Wounded on Normandy beach- D-Day. Limped for the rest of his life.
  • Brian Keith US Marines. Radioman/Gunner in Dauntless dive-bombers.
  • Buddy Hackett US Army anti-aircraft gunner.
  • Burgess Meredith US Army Air Corps.
  • Clark Gable US Army Air Corps. B-17 gunner over Europe .
  • Cesar Romero US Coast Guard. Coast Guard. Participated in the invasions of Tinian and Saipan on the assault transport USS Cavalier.
  • Charles Bronson US Army Air Corps. B-29 gunner- wounded in action.
  • Charles Durning US Army. Landed at Normandy on D-Day. Shot multiple times, so awarded the Silver & Bronze  & 3 Purple Hearts. Survived Malmedy Massacre.
  • Charlton Heston  US Army Air Corps. Radio operator and aerial gunner on a B-25.   Aleutians (Alaska).
  • Chuck Connors US Army. Tank-warfare instructor.
  • Claude Akins  US Army. Signal Corps. – Burma and the Philippines.
  • Clifton James US Army- South Pacific. Was awarded the Silver Star- Bronze Star- and Purple Heart.
  • Dale Robertson US Army. Tank Commander in North Africa under General Patton’s command. Wounded twice. Battlefield Commission.
  • Danny Aiello US Army. Lied about his age to enlist at 16. Served three years.
  • DeForest Kelley US Army Air Corps.
  • Dennis Weaver US Navy. Pilot.
  • Denver Pyle US Navy. Wounded in the Battle of Guadalcanal . Medically discharged.
  • Don Adams US Marines. Wounded on Guadalcanal – then served as a Drill Instructor.
  • Don Knotts US Army- Pacific Theater.
  • Don Rickles US Navy aboard USS Cyrene.
  • Earl Holliman . US Navy. Lied about his age to enlist. Discharged after a year when the Navy found out.
  • Ed McMahon US Marines. Fighter Pilot. (Flew OE-1 Bird Dogs over Korea as well.)
  • Eddie Albert US Coast Guard. Bronze Star with Combat V for saving several Marines under heavy fire as pilot of a landing craft during the invasion of Tarawa .
  • Efram Zimbalist Jr. US Army. Purple Heart for a severe wound received at Huertgen Forest .
  • Ernest Borgnine US Navy. Gunners Mate 1c- destroyer USS Lamberton. 10 years active duty. Discharged 1941- re-enlisted after Pearl Harbor .
  • Fess Parker US Navy and US Marines.  Booted from pilot training for being too tall- joined Marines as a radio operator.
  • Forrest Tucker US Army. Enlisted as a private- rose to Lieutenant.
  • Frank Sutton US Army. Took part in 14 assault landings- including Leyte- Luzon- Bataan and Corregidor .
  • Fred Gwynne US Navy. Radioman.
  • Gene Autry US Army Air Corps.  Crewman on transports that ferried supplies over “The Hump” in the China- Burma-India Theater.
  • George Gobel comedian, Army Air Corps, taught fighter pilots.  Johnny Carson made a big deal about it once on the Tonight Show, to which George said “the Japs didn’t get past us.”
  • George Kennedy US Army. Enlisted after Pearl Harbor – stayed in sixteen years.
  • Harry Carey Jr US Navy.
  • Harry Dean Stanton US Navy. Served aboard an LST in the Battle of Okinawa .
  • Harvey Korman US Navy.
  • Henry Fonda US Navy. Destroyer USS Satterlee.
  • Hugh O’Brian US Marines.
  • Jack Klugman US Army.
  • Jack Palance  US Army Air Corps.  Severely injured bailing out of a burning B-24 bomber.
  • Jack Warden  US Navy- 1938-1942- then US Army- 1942-1945. 101st Airborne Division.
  • Jackie Coogan US Army Air Corps. Volunteered for gliders and flew troops and materials into Burma behind enemy lines.
  • James Arness US Army. As an infantryman- he was severely wounded at Anzio – Italy .
  • James Gregory  US Navy and US Marines.
  • James Stewart – US Army Air Corps.  Bomber pilot who rose to the rank of General.
  • Jason Robards US Navy. was aboard heavy cruiser USS Northampton when it was sunk off Guadalcanal.   Also served on the USS Nashville during the invasion of the Philippines – surviving a kamikaze hit that caused 223 casualties.
  • John Carroll US Army Air Corps.  Pilot in North Africa.  Broke his back in a crash.
  • John Wayne  Declared “4F medically unfit” due to pre-existing injuries- (from playing football @ Southern Cal) – he nonetheless attempted to volunteer three times (Army- Navy and Film Corps.) so he gets ‘honorable mention’.
  • Jonathan Winters – USMC. Battleship USS Wisconsin and Carrier USS Bon Homme Richard. Anti-aircraft gunner- Battle of Okinawa.
  • Karl Malden US Army Air Corps. 8th Air Force- NCO.
  • Kirk Douglas US Navy. Sub-chaser in the Pacific.  Wounded in action and medically discharged.
  • Larry Storch . US Navy. Sub tender USS Proteus with Tony Curtis.
  • Lee Marvin US Marines.  Sniper.  Wounded in action on Saipan .  Buried in Arlington National Cemetery – Sec. 7A next to Greg Boyington and Joe Louis.
  • Lee Van Cleef US Navy.  Served aboard a sub chaser then a mine sweeper.
  • Mel Brooks US Army.  Combat Engineer.  Saw action in the Battle of the Bulge.
  • Mickey Rooney US Army under General Patton’s command.  Bronze Star.
  • Mickey Spillane US Army Air Corps – Fighter Pilot and later Instructor Pilot.
  • Neville Brand US Army- Europe.  Was awarded the Silver Star and Purple Heart.
  • Norman Fell – US Army Air Corps.- Tail Gunner- Pacific Theater.
  • Pat Hingle US Navy. Destroyer USS Marshall
  • Paul Newman US Navy Rear seat gunner/radsioman- torpedo bombers of USS Bunker Hill.
  • Peter Graves US Army Air Corps.
  • Randolph Scott Tried to enlist in the Marines but was rejected due to injuries sustained in US Army, during World War I.
  • Robert Altman US Army Air Corps.  B-24 Co-Pilot.
  • Robert Mitchum US Army.
  • Robert Montgomery US Navy.
  • Robert Preston  US Army Air Corps. Intelligence Officer
  • Robert Ryan  US Marines.
  • Robert Stack US Navy. Gunnery Officer.
  • Robert Taylor US Navy. Instructor Pilot.
  • Rock Hudson US Navy. Aircraft mechanic- the Philippines .
  • Rod Serling US Army.  11th Airborne Division in the Pacific.  He jumped at Tagaytay in the Philippines and was later wounded in Manila .
  • Rod Steiger US Navy.  Was aboard one of the ships that launched the Doolittle Raid.
  • Ronald Reagan US Army.  Was a 2nd Lt. in the Cavalry Reserves before the war.  His poor eyesight kept him from being sent overseas with his unit when war came so he transferred to the Army Air Corps Public Relations Unit where he served for the duration.
  • Russell Johnson US Army Air Corps. B-24 crewman who was awarded Purple Heart when his aircraft was shot down by the Japanese in the Philippines .
  • Soupy Sales  US Navy.  Served on USS Randall in the South Pacific. (that’s the ship which transported Elvis Presley…who was a tank driver in the U S Army from 1957-1960…to Bremerhaven, Germany.  In 1959 I also traveled from Southhampton, England to New York on the USS Randall.)   [ Chuck Allen…USAF aircraft radio repairman 1962-1966) ]
  • Sterling Hayden US Marines and OSS.  Smuggled guns into Yugoslavia and parachuted into Croatia. Silver Star.
  • Steve Forrest US Army. Wounded- Battle of the Bulge.
  • Steve Reeves  US Army – Philippines .
  • Ted Knight US Army- Combat Engineers.
  • Telly Savalas  US Army.
  • Tom Bosley US Navy.
  • Tony Curtis US Navy.  Sub tender USS Proteus.  In Tokyo Bay for the surrender of Japan .
  • Tyrone Power US Marines.  Transport pilot in the Pacific Theater.
  • Victor Mature US Coast Guard.
  • Walter Matthau US Army Air Corps. B-24 Radioman/Gunner and cryptographer.
  • Wayne Morris US Navy fighter pilot- USS Essex.  Downed seven Japanese fighters.
  • Wiliam Holden  US Army Air Corps.
  • William Conrad US Army Air Corps.  Fighter Pilot.

And of course we have Audie Murphy, America’s most-decorated soldier, who became a Hollywood star as a result of his US Army service that included his being awarded the Medal of Honor.

Would someone please remind me again how many of today’s Hollywood elite, sports celebs and politicians put their careers on hold to enlist for service in Iraq or Afghanistan?

The only one who even comes close was Pat Tillman, who turned down a contract offer of $3.6 million over three years from the Arizona Cardinals to enlist in the US Army after Sept, 11, 2001 and serve as a Ranger in Afghanistan, where he died from tragic ‘friendly fire’ in 2004.   But rather than being lauded for his choice and his decision to put his country before his career, he was mocked and derided by many of his peers.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I submit to you that this is not the America today that it was seventy years ago.   And I, for one, am saddened.

My generation grew up watching, being entertained by and laughing with so many of these fine people, never really knowing what they contributed to the war effort.   Like millions of Americans during WWII, there was a job that needed doing they didn’t question.  They just went and did what they could to help win it.  Those who came home returned to their normal life and carried on, obviously.   Very few ever saying what they did…or saw.

They took it as their “responsibility”.  Their duty to our country, to protect & preserve our freedoms & way of life.  Not just for themselves, but for all future generations to come.


I’m forever humbly in their debt.