5 Famous Leaders Who Served in the Military

Prior military service is not a requirement for holding political office. You can be president of these United States, which would also make you commander in chief of the U.S. military, without any prior military experience. Our Founding Fathers set things up that way in order to limit the power of the military by giving it a civilian as its top leader.

There have been many political leaders, including former Presidents, who did have previous military service, however. Many of them took the skills they learned in their military service and transformed those abilities into a strong leadership role in their post-military days. A few of them are identified here, in no particular order:

1. President Ronald Reagan

Ronald Wilson Reagan was elected as the 33rd Governor of California in 1967. He went on in his political career to be elected as the 40th President of the United States in 1981. He was re-elected for a second term, leaving office in 1989. He served from 1937 – 1945 in the U.S. Army Air Forces, obtaining the rank of captain.

2. President Jimmy Carter

James Earl “Jimmy” Carter, Jr., was elected as the 76th Governor of Georgia in 1971. He continued his political service with his successful campaign for the presidency in 1976. He took office as the 39th President of the United States in 1977. He served from 1943 – 1953 in the United States Navy, reaching the rank of Lieutenant.

3. U.S. Senator John Glenn

John Herschel Glenn became the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth, making three orbits in 1962. Glenn was selected for Project Mercury astronaut training in 1959. He came to the astronaut program through his work as a naval pilot. He entered the Naval Aviation Cadet Program in 1942 and flew 59 combat missions in World War II. He continued his military career, working with the Marines and the Air Force on approximately 90 missions during the Korean War. He was elected to his first term as a U.S. Senator in 1974 and served until his retirement in 1999.

4. President George H. W. Bush, Sr.

George Herbert Walker Bush began his political career in the U.S. House of Representatives from Texas’s 7th District. His extended political career culminated in his election as the 41st President of the United States. He served for one term, from 1989 to 1993. He served in the United States Navy from 1942 to 1945, achieving the rank of Lieutenant (junior grade).

5. U.S. Senator John McCain

John Sidney McCain III became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Arizona’s 1st District in 1983. He is presently serving as the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona, a seat he assumed in 1987. Senator McCain served in the U.S. Navy from 1958 – 1981. He served during the Vietnam War and was held as a prisoner of war for five years. During his military service, he obtained the rank of captain and numerous medals.

Military service is not a prerequisite for elected office or governmental service, according to the laws of this great nation. Considering how many influential political leaders were elected to office after serving in the military, it may be something a future president should consider.

Advantages of Junior ROTC to High School Students

The first thing your high school student needs to know about the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training Corp (JROTC) is that participating in the program in high school does not mean you’ve joined the military. JROTC is there to recruit for military service; it is there to motivate young men and women to become better citizens. Should any participants decide they want to pursue a military career, the JROTC experience will provide many advantages. If a young man or woman decides not to enter the military, those same advantages will put them ahead of the game of college, career pursuit, family and citizenship.

How Can JROTC Help With High School?

Students entering high school are faced with a huge transition. This is a time in their lives when they are exploring possibilities, a time for forging relationships and testing boundaries. JROTC provides a place away from home and family that they can depend on, a place that can be a haven for them when they need it. JROTC provides structure and rules in a disciplinary system they can accept. It helps them discover and set goals for their coming years and engages them mentally and physically while providing support from instructors and peers.

What About College?

One of the most influential benefits of JROTC is the recognition it garners from colleges and prospective employers. The leadership building capabilities of the JROTC program are considered most desirable when listed on a college application or employment resume. For those college bound, a military scholarship can be worth up to $60,000. Employers will choose JROTC high school graduates over others, looking to the leadership training, dependability and integrity cultivated in JROTC participants. The JROTC program can provide a student with the discipline and the maturity he or she needs to be a successful member of society.

JROTC Can Be Fun

Simply put, the JROTC program means active and fun programs offered in a high school. There may be campouts at any time during the year, drill exercising and marksmanship competitions, and field trips. JROTC programs engage students in learning through exploring, such as cave adventures, kayaking and rappelling. The activities are all optional so no child has to participate in any adventure he or she does not want to attend.

Friendships That Last a Lifetime.

The JROTC family welcomes all new students. Participation in the program fosters leadership potential in the individual students and helps them learn to live and work cooperatively with others. JROTC emphasizes and teaches principles of tolerance and understanding. JROTC students are all about teamwork; there is a job for every student and every job contributes to the success of the group.

Students are encouraged to assist each other and mentor the younger and incoming cadets. By giving students an opportunity to build self-confidence and self-esteem, JROTC can help them transition through their teen years – undeniably the most difficult years in a lifetime. From homework assistance to sharing personal problems, from conflict resolution to peer counseling based on sound advice, the friendships formed in JROTC develop bonds that can last a lifetime.

All things considered, JROTC can be a win-win for many students who choose to join its ranks.