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31 presidents who served in the military

February 21, 2022

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The 45 men that have held the office of president have simultaneously been commander-in-chief of the United States’ Armed Forces. Some presidents ascended to this position with little to no experience in military affairs. However, about two-thirds of U.S. presidents are veterans of the U.S. military, shaping their rise to the nation’s highest executive office.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution states that the president is “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

This title and explanation now extends to all branches of the U.S. military. The tremendous amount of authority thereby allows presidents to control and deploy military personnel, launch military operations and participate in forming military policy.

Even though military service is not a prerequisite to becoming president, members of the military develop significant leadership expertise during the time they train and serve. Besides learning tactical skills, they learn how to work as part of a team and experience the importance of self-sacrifice. Military service helps teach service members how to perform under tremendous pressure and flexibility in any situation that comes their way.

From militia leaders, to colonels, to generals and more, here are 31 presidents that served in the military before they rose to lead it as commander-in-chief.

From → History

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