The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. Drafted in 1958, when he was already a huge star, Elvis Presley decided to forego the government’s offers of deploying him as an entertainer, to visit troops and help recruitment efforts, in favor of starting out as a private in the Second Armored Division. There, he became just one of the troops and made friends that he kept the rest of his life. He also earned medals for marksmanship and by the time he returned home, in March 1960, had been promoted to sergeant.
The photo below was taken at Memphis’s Union Station on March 7, 1960, when Elvis returned home from his Army stint to greet a crowd of some 200 fans welcoming him. More details on the history of Union Station, and other Memphis sites that were significant in Elvis’s army years, are in Chapters 5 and 6 of Elvis Presley: Memphis. Thanks to all who those who served our country in the armed forces.