List of Presidents of the United States by military service
The United States Constitution names the President of the United States the commander in chief of the US armed forces. However, previous service in the military is not a pre-requisite for the position of president. As of the 2008 presidential election, no member of the US Marine Corps or US Coast Guard has yet been elected President. The most frequent military experience is Army/Army Reserve with 15 presidents, followed by State Militias at 9, Navy/Naval Reserve at 6 and the Continental Army with 2 presidents serving. The following list outlines the military service of each president before becoming the commander in chief.
|Texas Air National Guard||First Lieutenant||Stateside service during Vietnam War (1968–1973).|
|United States Naval Reserve||Lieutenant||World War II (1942–1945) Distinguished Flying Cross|
|United States Army Reserve, United States Army Air Corps||Captain|
|United States Navy||Lieutenant||World War II at the United States Naval Academy Sea duty and stateside service 1946-1953 during the Korean War|
|United States Naval Reserve||Lieutenant Commander||World War II (1942–1945; combat on USS Monterey, discharged in 1946)|
|Commander||World War II (1942–1945)|
|Lyndon B. Johnson||United States Naval Reserve||Commander|
World War II received Silver Star medal after airplane he was riding in was attacked by enemy aircraft
|United States Navy||Lieutenant||World War II received Navy and Marine Corps Medal and Purple Heart|
|Dwight D. Eisenhower||United States Army||General of the Army|
Stateside service during World War I. Served as Supreme Allied Commander in Europe during World War II (1942–1945). Visited troops in Korea in December 1952. Entire active-duty career spanned from 1915 until 1969 (excepting his two terms as president and Commander-in-Chief).
|Harry S. Truman|
|Colonel||World War I (1917–1918); was then transferred to the army reserve and retired in 1953.|
|Navy (Civilian)||Assistant Secretary||Witnessed World War I while serving as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in France|
|None||None||None; however he did help guide US Marines in 1900 during the Boxer Rebellion|
|None||None||None; United States Secretary of War 1904-1908|
|United States Navy||Colonel||Spanish–American War – only U.S. President to receive the Medal of Honor (awarded posthumously in 2001)|
|William McKinley||United States Army||Brevet Major|
|Benjamin Harrison||United States Army||Brigadier General|
American Civil War; Commanded an Infantry Brigade at the battles of Resaca, New Hope Church, Kennesaw Mountain, Marietta, Peachtree Creek and Atlanta; also Commanded a Brigade during Sherman's March to the Sea.
|New York State Militia||Brigadier General||Served as Quartermaster General before and during the American Civil War (1858–1865).|
|James Garfield||United States Army||Major General|
American Civil War (1861–1863; commanded an Ohio Infantry Brigade at the Battles of Shiloh and Corinth; served as Chief of Staff for General William Rosecrans at the Battle of Chickamauga; left the army to serve in the United States House of Representatives).
|Rutherford B. Hayes||United States Army||Major General|
American Civil War. Served in the 23rd Ohio Infantry and commanded future President William McKinley; wounded at the Battle of South Mountain; also served at the Battle of Antietam and in the Valley Campaigns of 1864.
|United States Army||General of the Army||Mexican-American War and American Civil War; served 1843-1854 and 1861-1868.|
|United States Army||Brigadier General||American Civil War; served as Military Governor of Tennessee in 1862.|
|Illinois State Militia||Captain||Black Hawk War (served three months in 1832); see Abraham Lincoln in the Black Hawk War.|
|Pennsylvania State Militia||Private||War of 1812|
|United States Army||Brigadier General||Mexican-American War; commanded an Infantry Brigade at the Battle of Contreras (where he was wounded in the leg), Battle of Churubusco, and the Assault on Mexico City.|
|New York State Militia||Major||American Civil War|
|United States Army||Major General||War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Second Seminole War, Mexican-American War; entire career spanned from 1808 until 1848.|
|Tennessee State Militia||Colonel||Joined local militia, but never fought in any war during his service|
|United States Army||Captain||War of 1812|
|United States Army||Major General||Northwest Indian War, War of 1812|
|North Carolina militia, United States Army||General||American Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Creek War, First Seminole War|
|John Quincy Adams||None||None|
None; however he was a witness to Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775 and reportedly was a non-participant in a Naval Battle between a British ship and a US ship he was on with his father during the American Revolution.
|James Monroe||Continental Army||Major|
|Virginia militia||Colonel||American Revolutionary War, did not see action|
Administrative position, did not see action. As Governor of Virginia, fled during British raid to avoid capture
Adams served as chairman of the Continental Congress's Board of War (1776–1777), making him the simultaneous equivalent of today's Secretary of Defense and Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee; was a semi-participant in a naval engagement between a British and US ship during the American Revolution.
|General of the Armies||French and Indian War, American Revolutionary War|
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