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List of United States Presidents by military rank: Wikis

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The United States Constitution names the President of the United States the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. armed forces. However, many Presidents served in the military before their terms of office.

Contents

Table: List of United States Presidents by military rank

General of the Armies

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
1 General of the Armies of the United States Virginia militia, Continental Army, United States Army George Washington[1][2] Yes, French and Indian War, Revolutionary War Served in the Virginia militia (1752–1758), attaining the rank of colonel; served as commander in chief of the Continental Army (1775–1783) during the Revolutionary War, with the rank of "General and Commander in Chief." Washington was a Lieutenant General in the United States Army at his death. In 1976, then-president Gerald R. Ford posthumously appointed Washington as General of the Armies of the United States and specified that he would forever rank above all officers of the Army, past, present and future.

US-O11 insignia.svg General of the Army

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
2 General of the Army United States Army (Regular army) Dwight D. Eisenhower Supreme Commander of the Allied Invasion of Europe, primarily the Battles for Normandy, France and Germany World War II. Attended West Point; served 1915–1952. Served stateside during World War I and as Supreme Allied Commander during World War II.

(O-10) US-O10 insignia.svg General

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
3 General United States Army (Regular Army) Ulysses S. Grant Yes, Mexican-American War and Civil War Attended West Point; first Lieutenant General since Washington, appointed as four-star General of the Army in 1866.

(O-8) US-O8 insignia.svg Major General

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
4 Major General North Carolina militia, Tennessee militia, United States Army Andrew Jackson Yes, Revolutionary War, Creek War, War of 1812, First Seminole War. Served at age 13 as a militia messenger during the Revolutionary War; was captured, becoming the only President to have been held as a prisoner of war (Washington had surrendered in the French and Indian War but was immediately paroled); served in the War of 1812, attaining the rank of major general and became a national hero after his success at the Battle of New Orleans.
United States Army William H. Harrison Yes, Northwest Indian War, War of 1812 Dates of service: 1791–1798, 1812–1814. Became national hero after success at the Battle of the Thames.
Zachary Taylor Yes, War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Second Seminole War, and Mexican-American War, Became a national hero because of his achievements in the Mexican-American War.
Brevet Major General of Volunteers United States Army (volunteers) Rutherford B. Hayes Yes, Civil War Successful leadership in Virginia/West Virginia region; wounded at the Battle of South Mountain
Major General of Volunteers James A. Garfield His heroic ride at the Battle of Chickamauga later helped him to be elected President.

(O-7) US-O7 insignia.svg Brigadier General

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
9 Brigadier General of Volunteers United States Army (State militia, New Hampshire) Franklin Pierce Yes, Mexican-American War Enlisted as Private
9 Brigadier General of Volunteers United States Army Andrew Johnson No, appointed Military Governor of Tennessee during Civil War with rank of Brigadier General None
9 Quartermaster General New York State militia Chester A. Arthur No, non-combatant service only during Civil War Quartermaster’s Corps. Dates of service: 1860–1862. As a state quartermaster, he could not be mustered into Federal service.
9 Brevet Brigadier General of Volunteers United States Army (State militia, Indiana) Benjamin Harrison Yes, Civil War Battle of Perryville
Atlanta Campaign
Battle of Nashville

(O-6) US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
13 Colonel Virginia militia, Albemarle County Thomas Jefferson No Like other Virginia gentlemen, he had militia duties, and did administrative work
Virginia militia, Orange County James Madison No, but served between 1775-1781 during the Revolutionary War. Also see Service Notes. Left militia to enter Virginia legislature. (Some sources claim Madison briefly assumed command of an artillery battery during the British assault on Washington during the War of 1812. If true, he would join Washington (Whiskey Rebellion) as having seen military service as commander-in-chief.)
State militia, Tennessee James K. Polk Unknown Served 1821
United States Army (State militia, New York National Guard, 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry Regiment aka the Rough Riders). Theodore Roosevelt Yes, Spanish American War Famous for charge up San Juan Hill. Posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. As ex-president, volunteered for service in World War I, but President Wilson declined.
United States Army (National Army) Harry S. Truman Yes, World War I Served 1905–1911, then in World War I, 129th Field Artillery (1917–1919), Army Reserves (1919–1953)[3]

(O-5) US Navy O5 insignia.svg Commander

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
18 Commander United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) Lyndon B. Johnson Yes, World War II Awarded Silver Star medal by General Douglas MacArthur for his role as an observer on a B-26 bomber mission.[4][5] (Controversial.)[6][7].
18 Commander United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) Richard Nixon Yes. World War II Served 1942–1945 on various islands in the South Pacific and Commanded SCAT units in the South Pacific.[8]

(O-4) US-O4 insignia.svg Major / US Navy O4 insignia.svg Lieutenant Commander

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
20 Major Continental Army, Virginia State Troops James Monroe Yes, Revolutionary War Dates of service: 1776–1779. Crossed the Delaware River with Washington (he's holding the flag in the famous painting); wounded in the Battle of Trenton. As Secretary of State during the War of 1812, scouted and deployed troops during the British invasion of Washington.
20 Brevet Major of Volunteers United States Army (Volunteers) William McKinley Yes, Civil War Served in the Army of the Potomac, originally with the 23rd Ohio Infantry same as President Rutherford B. Hayes. First major engagement in West Virginia in 1861 and was present at the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.
20 Lieutenant Commander United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) Gerald Ford Yes, World War II Years of service: 1942–1946. Served on USS Monterey. Earned 10 battle stars.[9][10]
20 Major Union Continentals (home guard) Millard Fillmore No, Civil War Years of service: 1861 (after departure from Presidency) [11]

(O-3) US-O3 insignia.svg Captain / US Navy O3 insignia.svg Lieutenant

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
24 Captain State militia, Virginia. John Tyler Yes, War of 1812 Raised a company for the defense of Richmond in 1813
24 Captain State militia, Illinois. Abraham Lincoln No, served during Black Hawk War, did not see combat, only burying the dead shortly after battles ended. Elected to the rank of Captain, re-enlisted as a private. Honorably discharged without seeing combat.
24 Lieutenant United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) John F. Kennedy Yes, World War II Commanded a PT boat. Earned Purple Heart and Navy and Marine Corps Medal for heroism in the PT-109 Incident.[12]
24 Lieutenant United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) Jimmy Carter[13][14] No, was a midshipman during World War II, served during Korean War, but never sent to Korea Years of service: 1946–1953. Graduated 59th in class of 1946 out of 820, United States Naval Academy at Annapolis, Submarine service (Nuclear Specialist)
24 Captain United States Army (U.S. Army Reserve) Ronald Reagan No, served during World War II but was not deployed. Served as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve; served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, attaining the rank of captain. Was barred from combat because of poor eyesight. Narrated pre-flight training films under the Army Air Forces Motion Picture Unit.

(O-2) US-OF1A.svg First Lieutenant / US Navy O2 insignia.svg Lieutenant, Junior Grade

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
29 Lieutenant, Junior Grade United States Navy (U.S. Naval Reserve) George H. W. Bush[15] Yes, World War II Youngest pilot in the United States Navy during World War II (age 19). Earned Distinguished Flying Cross.
29 First Lieutenant United States Air Force (State militia, Texas Air National Guard) George W. Bush No, served during the Vietnam War but did not see combat. Served as President during the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), Operation Iraq Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)

Private

Rank order Highest rank Branch President Combat? Service notes
31 Private United States Army (State militia, Pennsylvania) James Buchanan Yes, War of 1812 Only President who enlisted without going on to become an officer

Did not serve in uniform

President Service notes
John Adams None. Adams served as chairman of the Continental Congress's Board of War (1776-1777), making him the simultaneous equivalent of today's Secretary of Defense and Chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee.
John Quincy Adams None.
Martin Van Buren None.
Grover Cleveland None. He was drafted during the Civil War, but paid $150 for a substitute (a legal option under the terms of the Conscription Act of 1863, and his substitute survived the war).
William H. Taft None. He was Secretary of War under President Theodore Roosevelt from 1904 to 1908.
Woodrow Wilson None. He served as President during World War I.
Warren G. Harding None.
Calvin Coolidge None.
Herbert Hoover None. He served in a private (civilian) humanitarian capacity in Europe during World War I. However, he was involved in the Siege of Tientsin during the Boxer Rebellion.
Franklin D. Roosevelt None. He attempted to join the Navy during the Spanish American War but was unable as he contracted measles. Served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1913 and through World War I; when the U.S. entered the war in 1917 he offered his resignation so that he could apply for a commission in the Navy, but was refused by the President. Witnessed fighting in World War I. In a post World War I publication "Harvard in the War" he is listed among the Harvard's contributors to World War I effort. He served as President during World War II.
Bill Clinton None. He received a draft deferment to avoid service in the Vietnam War.
Barack Obama None. Currently serving as President during the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), Operation Iraq Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF).

References

  1. ^ wikisource:Public Law 94-479
  2. ^ wikisource:Order 31-3 Department of the Army Order Number 31-3 of 13 March 1978
  3. ^ "Military Personnel File of Harry S. Truman". Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum. http://www.trumanlibrary.org/hstpaper/rg407.htm. Retrieved 1 January 2009. 
  4. ^ American Warriors Home Page
  5. ^ Commander Lyndon B. Johnson, USNR from the Naval Historical Center
  6. ^ Caro, Robert. The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power. Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 0394499735. "The most you can say about Lyndon Johnson and his Silver Star is that it is surely one of the most undeserved Silver Stars in history, because if you accept everything that he said, he was still in action for no more than 13 minutes and only as an observer. Men who flew many missions, brave men, never got a Silver Star." 
  7. ^ Tillman, Barrett and Sakaida, Henry. "LBJ’s Silver Star: The Mission That Never Was". b-26marauderarchive.org. http://www.b-26marauderarchive.org/ms/MS1709/MS1709.htm. Retrieved 2009-03-22. "The fact is LBJ never got within sight of Japanese forces." 
  8. ^ Commander Richard M. Nixon, USNR from the Naval Historical Center
  9. ^ CNN.com Specials
  10. ^ Lieutenant Commander Gerald R. Ford, USNR from the Naval Historical Center
  11. ^ The American Presidency
  12. ^ Lieutenant John F. Kennedy, USN from the Naval Historical Center
  13. ^ Jimmy Carter's Naval Service record from the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum
  14. ^ Lieutenant James Earle Carter, Jr., USN from the Naval Historical Center
  15. ^ Lieutenant Junior Grade George Bush, USNR from the Naval Historical Center

See also

External links


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