It’s no surprise that country music singers supports our troops. But did y’all know a handful of them served in our troops?
Country singers like Toby Keith and Kellie Pickler have a tradition of going overseas and playing shows for the troops stationed in Afghanistan and Iraq all the time.
The following 10 singers risked their lives for our country and lived to sing about it. Some of these names might surprise you!
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James Otto served as a member of the US Navy for two years before pursuing a career in country music. He is known for opening for Shania twain on her Up! Tour, writing Zac Brown Band’s “No Hurry“, writing the 2008 ACM award-winning song of the year “In Color“, and his own Number One hit, “Just Got Started Lovin’ You“.
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Craig Morgan served as an active duty member of the US Army for over nine years, and was in the reserves for over six years after that. He was a member of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions. You will recognize him from his hit single “That’s What I Love About Sunday“, and many years in the country music scene. He was invited to be a member of the Grand Old Opry in 2008.
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Jamey Johnson served in the US Marine Corps Reserve for eight years. He often played original songs for his fellow marines, which inspired him to pursue music as a career. Johnson has had huge success as a songwriter, penning George Strait’s #1 hit “Give It Away“, Trace Adkins’ “Honkey Tonk Badonkadonk“, and many more.
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A finalist on the second season of American Idol, Josh Gracin served our country as a US Marine. After his elimination on the singing competition show, he completed his service and was honorably discharged. He’s had three top 5 hits and one #1 single and has filled in for Lonestar’s lead singer on tour.
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Kris Kristofferson was the son of a US Army Air Corps officer, who pressured him to serve the United States. He ultimately joined the US Army and attainted the rank of captain. He’s been stationed in Germany and upon his return was assigned to teach literature at West Point. He decided to leave the Army and pursue songwriting, which his family disowned him for. He went on to become one of the greatest singer songwriters in the history of music. His friendship with Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash led them to form the outlaw supergroup, The Highwaymen.
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Like his good friend Kristofferson, Willie Nelson served our great country, but in the US Air Force. Nelson needs no introduction, because this country legend has had a career than spans over five decades in both music and film. The 82-year-old doesn’t seem to be slowing down. He is currently on tour with Merle Haggard.
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The King of Rock and Roll famously served in the US Army after he was already a worldwide superstar. Elvis Presley recorded ten top 40 hits during his two-year stint with the Army. He was one of the most celebrated and influential musicians of the 20th century, and was successful in many genres including pop, blues, gospel, and country.
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The Possum enlisted in the US Marine Corps and was stationed in San Jose, California for the entirety of his two-year service. George Jones went on to be one of the most influential country artists of all time, producing over 150 hit songs. His song “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is consistently voted as one of the greatest country songs of all time, along with “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” by Hank Williams and “Crazy” by Patsy Cline.
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George Strait actually got his start in music because of his stint in the US Army. He played in an Army-sponsored band called “Rambling Country”, and while stationed in Hawaii, discovered his love for performing. He released “Amarillo by Morning” in the early 1980s, and the rest is history! He is currently holds the record for most #1 hits on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and is nicknamed ‘The King of Country Music‘
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Johnny Cash enlisted in the US Air Force in 1950 and was stationed in Germany as a Morse Code Intercept Operator. There, he started his first band, “The Landsberg Barbarians.” He was the first radio operator to pick up the news of the death of Joseph Stalin. He was honorably discharged in 1954 and returned to Texas to pursue a music career. Cash went on to become ‘The Man in Black‘ and produced countless memorable songs. “I Walk The Line“, “Folsom Prison Blues“, and “Ring of Fire” are his most famous songs.
To all the veterans out there, past, present, and future, we thank you for your service.