Weird History

The Most Beloved US Veterans 

Mike Rothschild
Updated June 14, 2019 56.2k votes 3.2k voters 42k views 101 items

List Rules Vote up the famous veterans that you love and respect the most.

While all of our veterans should be beloved and respected, many have stuck in the public consciousness. Some became famous veterans because of their incredible accomplishments in war, and others because of their accomplishments in entertainment or business after their service. While some of the names on this list of famous US veterans are decorated heroes, and others were malcontents who couldn't stay out of military prison (looking at you, George Carlin), all are veterans that are now loved and respected by the public.

Veterans like bomber pilot and movie star Jimmy Stewart, are obviously iconic. Others, like former Marine Corps driver turned icon Bea Arthur, might be people you had no idea served in the military. Their accomplishments in uniform run the gamut, from the heroism of Audie Murphy to personally having a bounty put on them by Hitler (Clark Gable) to undistinguished stints that ended quickly. A few fought in World War II and became highly anti-authoritarian. There are even some baseball players who gave up years of their careers to put themselves in harms way in combat in both World Wars.

Vote up the American veterans you respect and revere the most, and vote down the ones who don't deserve the admiration they get from the public. From US Army veterans to World War 2 veterans, any famous and beloved veteran of the US armed forces deserves a spot on this list!
list ordered by
1
Audie Murphy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 46 (1925-1971)

Birthplace: Kingston, Texas, United States of America

The most decorated soldier in American history. Later became a film actor.
Audie Leon Murphy (20 June 1925 – 28 May 1971) was one of the most decorated American combat soldiers of World War II. He received every military combat award for valor available from the U.S. ...more
2
George S. Patton is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 60 (1885-1945)

Birthplace: San Gabriel, California

Famous "blood and guts" general who led tank armies across Germany.
George Smith Patton Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a General of the United States Army who commanded the U.S. Seventh Army in the Mediterranean theater of World War II, and the ...more
3
Chesty Puller is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 73 (1898-1971)

Birthplace: West Point, Virginia

The most decorated Marine in history, he fought in the Banana Wars, World War II, and Korea.
Lewis Burwell "Chesty" Puller (June 26, 1898 – October 11, 1971) was a United States Marine Corps officer. Beginning his career fighting guerillas in Haiti and Nicaragua as part of the ...more
4
James Stewart is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 89 (1908-1997)

Birthplace: Indiana, Pennsylvania, United States of America

Enlisted as a private, flew combat missions in World War II and retired a two-star general.
James Maitland Stewart (May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997) was an American actor and military officer who is among the most honored and popular stars in film history. Known for his distinctive drawl, ...more
5
George Washington is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
RobLein added Dec. at 67 (1732-1799)

Birthplace: Virginia, United States of America

How did we miss him? First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countryman. And nobody can ever outrank him, thanks to an appropriate bill passed by Congress. George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the ...more
6
Alvin C. York is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 77 (1887-1964)

Birthplace: Pall Mall, Tennessee

Heroic World War I soldier who became famous after the war.
Alvin Cullum York (December 13, 1887 – September 2, 1964), also known as Sergeant York, was one of the most decorated United States Army soldiers of World War I. He received the Medal of Honor ...more
7
Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 61 (1858-1919)

Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

The future president led a charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba in the Spanish-American War.
Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ROH-zə-velt; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an American statesman, politician, conservationist, naturalist, and writer who served as the 26th president of the ...more
8
Jimmy Doolittle is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 97 (1896-1993)

Birthplace: Alameda, California

Army Air Force General who led the first bombing raid against Japan in World War II.
James Harold Doolittle (December 14, 1896 – September 27, 1993) was an American General and aviation pioneer. He made early coast-to-coast flights, won many flying races and, most significantly, ...more
9
Pat Tillman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Age: Died at 28 (1976-2004)

Birthplace: Fremont, California

Left the NFL to join the Army Rangers. Was killed in action in Afghanistan.
Patrick Daniel Tillman (November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004) was an American football player in the National Football League (NFL) who left his sports career and enlisted in the United States Army ...more
10
Lee Marvin is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 63 (1924-1987)

Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of America

The tough guy actor fought with the Marines at Saipan, and was badly wounded.
Lee Marvin (February 19, 1924 – August 29, 1987) was an American film and television actor.Known for his distinctive voice and premature white hair, Marvin initially appeared in supporting ...more
11
Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
RobLein added Dec. at 79 (1890-1969)

Birthplace: Denison, Texas, United States of America

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower ( EYE-zən-how-ər; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from ...more
12
Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr. ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 78 (1934-2012)

Birthplace: Trenton, New Jersey, United States of America

Known as "Stormin' Norman," he masterminded the 100-hour ground phase of the Gulf War.
Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. (; August 22, 1934 – December 27, 2012) was a United States Army General. While serving as the commander of United States Central Command, he led all coalition ...more
13
Ted Williams is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 84 (1918-2002)

Birthplace: San Diego, California, United States of America

Gave up four years of his baseball career to serve as a Naval aviator.
Theodore Samuel "Ted" Williams was an American Major League Baseball left fielder, and later manager. Williams played his entire 19-year major league career for the Boston Red Sox from ...more
14
Clint Eastwood is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Age: 88

Birthplace: California, United States of America

Drafted into the US Army in 1951.
Clinton Eastwood Jr. (born May 31, 1930) is an American actor, filmmaker, musician, and politician. After achieving success in the Western TV series Rawhide, he rose to international fame with ...more
15
John Basilone is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
BrianEdwards added Dec. at 29 (1916-1945)

Birthplace: Buffalo, New York

John Basilone (November 4, 1916 – February 19, 1945) was a United States Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who was killed in action during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for heroism ...more
16
Eddie Rickenbacker is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 83 (1890-1973)

Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio

World War I American fighter ace and aviation pioneer.
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker (October 8, 1890 – July 23, 1973) was an American fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. With 26 aerial victories, he was America's most successful ...more
17
Chris Kyle is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
icoachfb added Dec. at 39 (1974-2013)

Birthplace: Odessa, Texas

Christopher Scott "Chris" Kyle was a United States Navy SEAL and the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history with 160 confirmed kills. Kyle served four tours in the Iraq War and ...more
18
Yogi Berra is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Age: 93

Birthplace: The Hill, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America

Interrupted his baseball career to serve in the Navy, and was wounded in the Normandy invasion.
Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra (May 12, 1925 – September 22, 2015) was an American professional baseball catcher, who later took on the roles of manager and coach. He played 19 seasons in ...more
19
Ernest Borgnine is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 95 (1917-2012)

Birthplace: Hamden, Connecticut, United States of America

Served nearly 10 years in the Navy, mostly in anti-submarine warfare.
Ernest Borgnine (born January 24, 1917 – July 8, 2012) was an American actor whose career spanned over six decades. He was noted for his gruff but calm voice and gap-toothed Cheshire Cat grin. A ...more
20
Chester W. Nimitz is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
RobLein added Chester W. Nimitz Dec. at 81 (1885-1966)

Birthplace: Fredericksburg, Texas, United States of America

Chester William Nimitz, Sr. (; February 24, 1885 – February 20, 1966) was a fleet admiral of the United States Navy. He played a major role in the naval history of World War II as Commander in ...more
21
Kirk Douglas is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Age: 99

Birthplace: Amsterdam, New York, USA

Wounded in combat in the Navy during World War II.
Kirk Douglas (December 9, 1916-February 5, 2020) was an American actor, filmmaker, and author. He had his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck. Douglas ...more
22
Douglas MacArthur is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 84 (1880-1964)

Birthplace: Little Rock, Arkansas, United States of America

The famed general won over 100 medals and decorations in his career.
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (January 26, 1880 – April 5, 1964) was an American five-star general and Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. He was Chief of Staff of the United States ...more
23
Gene Hackman is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Age: 89

Birthplace: San Bernardino, California, United States of America

Served four years in the Marine Corps as a radio operator.
Eugene Allen Hackman (born January 30, 1930) is a retired American actor and novelist. In a career that spanned more than six decades, Hackman was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning Best ...more
24
Jackie Robinson is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 53 (1919-1972)

Birthplace: Cairo, Georgia, United States of America

Drafted in World War II and served in a segregated unit.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson (January 31, 1919 – October 24, 1972) was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the ...more
25
Johnny Cash is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Beloved US Veterans
Dec. at 71 (1932-2003)

Birthplace: USA, Arkansas, Kingsland

Joined the Air Force and served as a radio operator in Germany.
John R. "Johnny" Cash (February 26, 1932 – September 12, 2003) was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, ...more