A number of American Presidents served in the United States army, led soldiers to battle and won significant victories. Many of them became famous because of their victories in battle and were subsequently elected the President. Following are some of the American Presidents who had a very active military career.
George Washington started his military career in the Virginia militia. He attained the rank of colonel in the militia but he was refused the rank of officer in the British army. When the American Revolutionary War broke out, he was put in charge of the Continental Army. He remained the Commander-in-Chief of the continental forces throughout the duration of the war. His leadership and strategic vision were vital in securing a victory for the American forces and ensuring the independence of United States.
Andrew Jackson was only 13 when the Revolutionary War took place. Even at that young age, Jackson served as a messenger for the militia forces. Later, he attained the rank of Major General and took part in a number of wars. These include the Creek War, the War of 1812 and the First Seminole War. In the War of 1812, he led the US forces to a decisive victory against the British forces. This garnered him popular support across United States and helped him become a national hero. This popularity also helped him secure the presidency soon afterwards.
Zachary Taylor was another American President who became famous because of his achievements as a soldier. Taylor led the American army during the Mexican-American War from 1846 to 1848. During this time, he defeated the Mexican forces in Texas and then invaded a significant portion of Mexico. His victories made him a household name across America. He gained the status of a national hero and was later persuaded by the Whig Party to run for the Presidency. He won the election and became the President, although he couldn’t complete his term and died less than 2 years into his term.
Ulysses S. Grant famously led the armies of the Union states during the American Civil War. He was the Commanding General of the Army and worked directly under Abraham Lincoln. He led the Union forces during the final days of the Civil War and used his excellent strategic vision to force the Confederate armies to surrender. After the Civil War was over, Grant remained a popular icon in the United States. He was subsequently elected as President for two consecutive terms. After his Presidency, he went on a world tour and also published his memoirs.
Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces fighting against Nazi Germany in Europe. He remained one of the highest ranking US military officials in World War II. As the Supreme Commander, he planned and oversaw the invasion of Germany and France. After the war ended, he ran for Presidency and was elected as the 34th President of the United States. He served in the position for two consecutive terms from 1953 to 1961. Eisenhower remained immensely popular both during his presidency and afterwards.
Theodore Roosevelt served as the 26th President of the United States. Before he entered politics, he became a national hero when he participated in the Spanish-American War. During this war, he led the 1st Volunteer Cavalry of the United States, more famously known as the Rough Riders. Leading these horsemen, Roosevelt took an active part in the War. This made him a recognized name across United States and when he ascended to the Presidency, he became immensely popular among the masses. Today, Roosevelt remains one of the most historically popular presidents of the United States.
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States. Truman served in the position from 1945 to 1953. Truman was a young man when World War I broke out. He actively participated in the war alongside the National Guard unit in the position of an artillery officer. During the war, Truman served in France. After the war was over, Truman became a part of the Reserve Officer Corps. He was subsequently promoted to the position of a colonel and commanded an entire regiment. Even when he was President, he was an active reservist which made him a part of the army.
James Monroe was very young when the American Revolutionary War broke out. Monroe dropped out of college and joined the Continental Army. He was soon given the rank of a lieutenant because of his literacy. Monroe fought alongside George Washington in the famous crossing of Delaware River and the attack on Hessian encampment. He was shot during the attack and was severely wounded. Due to his bravery, he was later promoted to the rank of captain by George Washington. He wintered and trained alongside the Continental Army in the Valley Forge and later received commission as lieutenant colonel.
Gerald Ford was the 38th President of the United States. He served in the position from 1974 to 1977. Before he entered politics, Ford had a long military career. He began his career in the U.S. Naval Reserve after the Japanese attack in Pearl Harbor. Due to his bravery, he received a number of military awards during his service. In all, he received 10 battle stars during his military career.
Ronald Reagan served as the 40th President of the United States. He served for two consecutive terms and remained the President from 1981 to 1989. He joined the army reserve as a second lieutenant in 1937. When the World War II broke out, Reagan was still on active duty although he had poor eyesight and was assigned limited duties.
He was given a number of non-combat tasks which were significant for the military efforts of United States. These include the media production unit of the army, known as the First Motion Picture Unit, where he narrated pre-flight films for military personnel.