Celebrating Notable Black Veterans

There have been more than 2 million African Americans serving in the United States Armed Forces today, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In honor of Black History Month, we would like to celebrate notable black veterans

So here is a list of some of the best-known African American celebrities who served in the armed forces. 

Morgan Freeman 

Morgan Freeman is known for his incredible acting abilities, but before he started his acting career, he served in the Air Force. Freeman enlisted in 1955 with the dream of becoming a fighter pilot. He was a radar technician and eventually rose to Airman 1st class after four years. 

Freeman decided to leave the Air Force in 1959 to pursue a career in acting. He eventually earned his first on-screen appearance in the TV soap opera “Another World.” Since then the iconic actor has become one of Hollywood’s most recognizable faces and voices. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards and won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2015 for his performance in “Million Dollar Baby.” 

Credits: JCS & Wikimedia Commons

Credits: JCS & Wikimedia Commons

Ice-T – Tracy Marrow

Tracy Marrow, also known as Ice T is an artist and actor, but did you know he served in the Army? After graduating high school, Ice-T needed a source of income, so he decided to join the Army to support his girlfriend and daughter. The hip-hop artist served four years at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii. While serving Marrow purchased stereo equipment like turntables, a mixer, and speakers to support his musical interest.

After serving, Marrow found success in Hip-Hop and became known as Ice-T. In 1991, he won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance. Soon, Ice-T turned to acting to star in multiple films including ‘New Jack City,’ ‘Johnny Mnemonic,’ and ‘Mean Guns.’ His biggest role is in “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.”

Credits: DJJeremyD (Spokane) & Wikimedia Commons

Credits: DJJeremyD(Spokane) & Wikimedia Commons

James Earl Jones

Before this legendary actor voiced Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” franchise or voiced the iconic Mufasa in Disney’s classic “Lion King,” James Earl Jones joined the Army. In 1953, Jones enlisted after graduating from the University of Michigan. He served during the Korean War and considered pursuing a military career. Jones was discharged from the Army as a 1st lieutenant and decided to pursue acting.

James Earl Jones starred in critically acclaimed films like Dr. Strangelove, Coming to America, Field of Dreams, The Hunt for Red October, The Sandlot, Patriot Games, and Clear and Present Danger. Jones has received two Tony Awards, an honorary Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, and a Grammy Award. He is a member of the honorary EGOT group. 

Credits: U.S. Embassy London & Flickr

Credits: U.S. Embassy London & Flickr

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix is considered the greatest guitarist of all time, but did you know he served in the Army? James Marshall Hendrix had a troubled childhood and run-in with the law that led a judge to give Hendrix a choice. He could either serve two years in prison or join the Army. On May 31, 1961, the rock’n’roll legend enlisted and was assigned to Fort Campell in Kentucky.

Hendrix enlisted for three years, but an ankle injury during a parachute jumping exercise earned him a discharge after only one year. After leaving the Army, Hendrix spent years perfecting his guitar skills in the U.S. before leaving for London to start his music career. In 1966 Jimi Hendrix started his band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience and the rest is history.

Credits: mirjoran & Flickr

Credits: mirjoran & Flickr

At Military Makeover we thank all of our military veterans for your service. Did you know all of these celebrities are veterans?