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Mel Brooks 

Served in the U.S. Army as a combat engineer and took part in the Battle of the Bulge. His main job was to deactivate land mines. After the battle, the Germans broadcast to the U.S. troops via loudspeaker and Brooks answered by doing an Al Jolson imitation of "Toot Toot Tootsie".


Gene Autry 

Gene Autry joined the Army Air Corps in 1942 and became Sgt. Gene Autry. During the war, he ferried fuel, ammunition, and arms in the China-India-Burma theater of war and flew over the Himalayas, the hazardous air route known as “The Hump.” When the war ended Autry was reassigned to Special Services, where he toured with a USO troupe in the South Pacific before resuming his movie career in 1946.n the China/Burma theater. He was discharged as a Sgt. 

Charles Durning 

 U.S. Army Ranger at Normandy.
 the son of an Army officer, continued in his father's footsteps with valor and distinction, earning a silver star and purple heart in service in the ETO.  


Peter Falk
lost his right eye as a child due to a tumor. In 45 he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and memorized the eye chart so that he could pass the physical. The examiner became suspicious since his right eye did not move. The Marines would not let him join. So he became a cook in the Merchant Marine.

George H. W. Bush, the youngest commissioned pilot in the U.S. Navy, flew Avengers from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. San Jacinto. He was shot down in the sea while attacking a Jap radio site in Iwo Jima. He was rescued by the sub U.S.S. Finback which was photographed by a crewman. Bush was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for continuing his attack on the radio site and later three air medals. 

Note:  With the fundraising help of Prescott Bush, father of the 41st president of the United States and grandfather of current president George W. Bush, the USO became a vital morale booster by providing servicemen with entertainment during World War II. No entertainer is more associated with the USO than Bob Hope, who first appeared with the USO in 1942 and spent the following decades entertaining U.S. servicemen and women around the globe. In 1997, by act of Congress, Hope was made an "honorary veteran." Upon receiving the award, he said: "I've been given many awards in my lifetime, but to be numbered among the men and women I admire most is the greatest honor I have ever received."

Sidney Poitier enlisted in U.S. Navy, lying about his age. Poitier was assigned to the 1267th Medical Detachment at a Veterans hospital for psychiatric patients. Poitier was discharged one year and eleven days after enlisting, all prior to his eighteenth birthday.


1st Lt. Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy
 US Army, most decorated soldier of WWII.

An underage, undersize, baby-faced farm boy with only five years of schooling, Audie Murphy became the most decorated American combat soldier of World War II, winning every citation for bravery the U.S. had to offer, including the Congressional Medal of Honor. Spending more than a year on the front lines in Europe, Murphy was credited with killing more than 240 German soldiers and capturing many others. His appearance in Life magazine attracted the attention of James Cagney, who brought the soldier out to Hollywood. Murphy starred in a series of B westerns and The Red Badge of Courage (where it was claimed he had trouble playing his character's moments of cowardice) and played himself in the autobiographical film To Hell and Back. A humble man who suffered from a gambling problem and post-traumatic stress disorder in the years after the war, Murphy died in a plane crash in 1971.


Jack Warden was a Paratrooper with the 101st Airborne. On the last practice jump in England Warden broke his leg and injured his back, preventing him from making the D-Day jump. In the 1980 TV movie, A Private Battle, he portrayed Cornelius Ryan, who as a correspondent did jump with the 101st at D-Day.

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