Today would of been Elvis' 77th birthday, while not a HUGE fan of his music (the style and sound was a bit before my time for me to be a major fan, but I admire the guy's career and how cool he was - at least before he got hooked on drugs and bloated near the end). Elvis did something that few people in his position (especially today) would do, he allowed himself to be drafted at the height of his career. Yep, 1958 - 1960 Elvis was drafted, completed basic training and served in Germany as a scout during some of the most volatile years of the cold war instead of pressing for some gig entertaining other soldiers on USO shows and such, like he probably could have done.
See that M113 in the background? We were still using modified versions of that vehicle in Iraq in 2007!!
By accounts on this site Elvis did more than just show up too, he seemed to go the extra mile in order to show that he wasn't being given special treatment. He did get some special attention though, he had a public affairs captain assigned to him whenever the press was around to make sure the didn't say or do anything to embarrass the Army since of the increased attention that would be given to him...he never did. Even after he got out he just passed off his service as just doing what everyone else should have done given the circumstances...something he passed on as a joke in the 1961 movie Blue Hawaii playing a soldier discharged from the Army who returns home to Hawaii. In the movie his mother (played by a young(er) Angela Lansbury) says a couple of times about her boy being home from the war..and both Elvis and his movie Dad have to remind her that there was no war going on (even though "advisers" were in Vietnam it was still a non-event to most Americans in 1961).
As a side note, my high school wrestling coach, Mike Albert, has made quite a career of his Elvis impersonation that he used to do during practices...being a guest on Oprah (one of the few times I would of watched that show) and other TV shows as well as touring the country with members of Elvis's own band. Here's a quick vid..
Happy Birthday Sergeant Presley!