Gerald Ford became the 38th president of the United States when he replaced the scandal-stricken Richard Nixon. Ford was active in the navy reserve until 1963, before deciding to move into politics where he went on to reach the highest office possible.
Ford’s work in the military was more behind the scenes. He was a navy pre-flight instructor, assigned to teach elementary navigation skills to new recruits. He also taught first aid for survival, gunnery, and military cadence drills. He requested to see more action and almost died aboard the USS Monterey, when his ship came close to tipping during a typhoon.
When American actor, Gene Hackman, was only 16 years old, he struggled with direction. Not knowing what he really wanted out of life, he opted to join the US marines. There he realized that he would perennially find it hard to operate under any form of authority.
He was stationed in Shanghai where he worked as a radio operator, and then eventually made his way to Hawaii. During the length of his service he was demoted three times, continually having problems with simply following instructions. “I was not a good marine,” he admits.
Before Jimmy Carter became president of the United States, he was in a potent position to join the US Navy’s nuclear submarine program. Had his father not died at the time, Carter, a lieutenant, and having served as a Luton junior grade on a submarine, would have gone places. Instead, he decided to retire and pick up the pieces his father had left, working on his parent’s peanut farm.
Some time after this momentous decision, Jimmy Carter decided to move on from his farm work, entering the arena of politics, and going on to become the 39th President of the US, presiding from 1977 to 1981.
George Reeves’ major break in his acting career came when he played the role of the man of steel in The Adventures of Superman. With his popularity fast on the rise, Reeves still decided to put his acting career on hold to take on bigger world issues, joining the US Army.
He wanted to be more than just a fictitious man of steel, and hoped to be a real man of action in the armed forces during WWII. However, the army put him on acting duties instead of on the battlefield. He joined in a special theatrical unit that produced several training films on the dangers of venereal diseases. He resumed his career as an actor in 1946.
Rob Riggle had hopes of building a military career back in the day. His initial plan was to become a naval aviator, so he joined the service in 1990, with the intention of pursuing a pilot’s license to kickstart his long-term goal.
Riggle also liked acting and did some of it on the side. Then he was faced with a choice between his two big dreams. In the end, he decided to drop out of the military when his acting career took off to greater heights than he’d expected. Still, he actually became a member of the United States Marine Corps reserve, and did a tour of duty to Iraq in 2007. However, his tour was purely to entertain troops as part of the USO.