Military Service of the Presidents

(Information from the Smithsonian, National Museum of American History)

 

At this point in our history, a total of 31 American Presidents also served in the military.  Of those,12 reached the level of General.

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