Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.

Veterans Health Administration

Attention A T users. To access the combo box on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Press the alt key and then the down arrow. 2. Use the up and down arrows to navigate this combo box. 3. Press enter on the item you wish to view. This will take you to the page listed.
Menu
Veterans Health Administration

Quick Links

Veterans Crisis Line Badge
My healthevet badge
 

List of Presidents who were Veterans

Portrait of George Washington

George Washington set an important precedent by entering the Presidency as a civilian

By Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer
Monday, February 16, 2015

A majority of America’s presidents came to office as Veterans.

Twenty-six of our 44 Presidents served in the military. Presidential Veterans often coincided with America’s military engagements. Until World War II, a majority of our presidents had served in the Army. Since then, most have served in the Navy.

Our ninth President, William Henry Harrison, embarked on his military career at age 18, enlisting 80 men off the streets of Philadelphia to serve in the Northwest Territory.

Civil War Veteran Ulysses S. Grant also gained national acclaim for his military service. Grant was a West Point graduate who fought in the Mexican War, but it was his calm, steely command of Union troops during the Civil War that earned Lincoln’s confidence. The Civil War produced seven Veteran presidents in the postwar period, all of them having served in the Union Army.

Black and white photo of Harry Truman in a military uniform

Harry Truman

The First and Second World Wars ushered in another series of Veteran Presidents, starting with Harry Truman and West Point graduate General Dwight Eisenhower. Both men exemplified the strengths of military training by proving themselves to be diplomatic, dynamic leaders in an unstable world.

The evolution of warfare has introduced many new tactical and technical dynamics to the U.S. military, but the core qualities of decision-making and inspiring leadership remain.

You can read about all the Presidents on the White House website.

Presidents who were Veterans

Highest rank held by Presidents in uniformed service.

George Washington
General and Commander in Chief, Continental Army
1775-1783
Thomas Jefferson
Colonel, Virginia Militia
1770-1779
James Madison
Colonel, Virginia Militia
1775-1781
James Monroe
Major, Continental Army
1775-1778
Andrew Jackson
Major General, U.S. Army
1814-1821
William Henry Harrison
Major General, Kentucky Militia
1812-1814
John Tyler
Captain, Virginia Militia
1812
James K. Polk
Colonel, Tennessee Militia
1821
Zachary Taylor
Major General, U.S. Army
1805-1815, 1816-1849
Millard Fillmore
Major, Union Continentals (home guard)
1861
Franklin Pierce
Brigadier General, New Hampshire Militia
1846-1848
James Buchanan
Private, Pennsylvania Militia
1814
Abraham Lincoln
Captain, Illinois Militia
1832
Andrew Johnson
Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Volunteers)
1862-1865
Ulysses S. Grant
General, U.S. Army
1866-1869
Rutherford B. Hayes
Major General, U.S. Army (Volunteers)
1861-1865
James A. Garfield
Major General, U.S. Army (Volunteers)
1861-1863
Chester A. Arthur
Brigadier General, New York Militia
1858-1863
Benjamin Harrison
Brevet Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Volunteers)
1862-1865
William McKinley
Brevet Major, U.S. Army (Volunteers)
1861-1865
Theodore Roosevelt
Colonel, U.S. Army (Volunteers)
1898
Harry S. Truman
Colonel, Army Officer Reserve Corps
1919-1945
Dwight D. Eisenhower
General of the Army, U.S. Army
1915-1948, 1951-1952
John F. Kennedy
Lieutenant, U.S. Naval Reserve
1941-1945
Lyndon B. Johnson
Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve
1940-1964
Richard M. Nixon
Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve
1942-1966
Gerald R. Ford, Jr.
Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve
1942-1946
Jimmy Carter
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
1946-1953
Ronald Reagan
Captain, U.S. Army
1942-1945
George Bush
Lieutenant (junior grade), U.S. Navy
1942-1945
George W. Bush
First Lieutenant, Texas Air National Guard
1968-1973

Share

Get Updates

Subscribe to Receive
Email Updates