Elvis in the Army
Had Elvis not been an entertainer, he had designs on becoming a preacher, or maybe he would have made a career in the United States military. He was a good soldier, honorable and loyal to his comrades. The United States Army awarded him this Certificate of Achievement.
The story of G.I. Presley is well-known among the Elvis community, that he stood out as a model soldier setting a fine example of what true patriotism is all about. "Victory or Death" was the motto of the 3rd Army, 32nd Armor, Spearhead Division, disbanded in 1992. Elvis took basic training at Fort Hood, Texas, named for his 5th cousin, General John Bell Hood. The Kin of Rock and Roll offers condolences to the soldiers and personnel at Fort Hood, especially to those killed in the terrorist-related massacre of 2009 and their families, a tradgedy that should never have been.
Elvis Presley received no special treatment, even requesting to be allowed to be "one of the boys." However, the press was there at every turn, photographing him in uniform, during maneuvers, during R & R. He was news in or out of the service. It bothered him that because of the constant press coverage his comrades would have to train harder since their training was being filmed. Though not serving in wartime, it was still the Cold-War era and the mission for Elvis' unit was to guard the German border against Russian invasion. The Berlin Wall had not yet gone up. Nontheless, there was the chance that the two countries would flare up at any given time and so their mission was, indeed, of major importance and as with every military situation, prone to risks.
The one fear Elvis had, and believe me, Elvis feared no man, was that his career would end during his time in the army, which it did not. He was far too unique and valuable to the new phase of music to fade away. Even with that threat posed Elvis would not give up soldiering and commented freely that he had learned alot from his military service, and earned himself lifelong friendships including Charlie Hodge and Joe Esposito who later became part of Elvis' Memphis Mafia.entourage.
Left, Elvis was an expert marksman in the combat arm of this armored division. He took his weapons seriously and he had quite a collection, later on, of rifles, pistols and swords, and devised a make-shift shooting range out back at Graceland
Elvis Presley in the U.S. Army was an inspiration to the other men because he insisted on being one of them: peeling potatoes on KP, marching for miles with an 80 lb pack strapped to his back, and pulling guard duty. For a time he became a jeep driver for his sargeant. There was no special treatment for Private Presley whose diligence and duty earned him promotion to Sargeant. So humble was he that when approached by the media during a 40,000 man sleep out in 3 ft. snow, Elvis was told that he was invited to go to Miami, then Paris, then to Rome for a special meeting with the Pope. Elvis spoke about it to his manager, Col. Tom, for he didn't feel it was right for him to be singled out because of who he was. Elvis politely refused the invitation.
Sgt. Elvis Presley, above, displaying the Certificate of Achievement he received from the United States Army.