Even though Richard “The Old Man” Harrison passed away in 2018, Pawn Stars fans remember his no-nonsense demeanor and disbelief at Chum and Corey’s hijinks fondly. But were you aware that his Navy career lasted a full 20 years? Rick Harrison shared an old photo of his dad in uniform to honor his service this Veterans Day.
Longtime fans of Pawn Stars were likely aware that the Old Man spent time in the Navy. What they probably don’t know, however, is how he found himself enlisting in the first place.
According to the 2011 biography Rick Harrison wrote for his father, the North Carolina native joined the Navy due to an ultimatum. Believe it or not, Richard “The Young Man” Harrison landed himself before a judge after stealing a car as a 17-year old.
The judge gave him two choices: jail or military service. We don’t know about you, but for us, that’s a pretty easy choice. It was for Richard Harrison, too. He chose the Navy, went to San Diego for boot camp, and spent his required four years of service on two destroyers traveling the world.
He met his wife during this time. They had a child together, but complications meant extensive medical bills. And just when Harrison was considering getting out, he realized he needed to reenlist. It wasn’t all that bad; he enjoyed being in the Navy. Well, he liked everything except the whole being away from his family part.
“Out of 20 years, I was deployed about 10. That’s a lot of time. … The only reason I got out was that I had three teenage boys, and the wife couldn’t handle them,” Harrison told the Navy Times.
The ‘Pawn Stars’ Legend Had an Accomplished Naval Career for Someone Compelled to Enlist
What began as punishment for stealing a car turned into a multi-decade career of distinguished Naval service. It’s funny how things work out sometimes. After 20 years, the Pawn Stars patriarch had a record of which to be proud.
The Navy Times reports that he earned himself the right to wear several medals, including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal.
He enjoyed his career so much that the only thing capable of getting him to leave was missing his family. As many in military families know, having a parent or spouse commit to serving their country can mean long stretches without them around.
For most in the military, a family is missing them as they do their best to keep us safe. This Veterans Day, let’s keep that sacrifice in mind as we honor those who have served our country.