Country Music Stars are Veterans Too!



When Memorial Day rolls around, the Americans honor their servicemen, veterans and the families that supported them. Among those who have served in the military, there are quite a few Nashville stars served in the military. Much like other soldiers who enlist after high school, Willie Nelson joined the US Air Force in 1950. He served for nine months until he was medically discharged because of back problems.

George Strait, dubbed the “King of Country” actually got his music bug when he joined the army after he married his high school sweetheart, Norma. While he was in the army, he joined an army sponsored band that went by the name of “Rambling Country.” Ram Country reports that even the late and great Johnny Cash was in a band while serving. While he was stationed in Germany he worked Morse code interception for Russian transmissions. His band was called the Landsberg Barbarians.

It isn’t just the older generation of dedicated servicemen who turned into country sensations. Craig Morgan enlisted when he was 18 and served on the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions for 10 years. He stayed on active reserve while he contemplated if he wanted to pursue a career in music. Morgan received his final push from his commanding officer who urged him to pursue music. He told Morgan that although he could be a sergeant one day, he had the talent to make it in the music industry. Being a in the military instills valuable direction and focus that can dictate career choices once they leave service—even for musicians. Jamey Johnson enlisted in the US Marines Corps where he spent two years as the mortar man. He says that it gave him discipline and guidance that he needed to make it in the industry. Not only had his service time help with the discipline, it also introduced him to a fellow Marine who would later become one of his road managers.

Evette Champion

Evette Champion is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE