James Earl Jones Military Service Receives Special Tribute From Army ROTC on ‘Star Wars Day’

by Keeli Parkey
(Photo by Andrew Stawicki/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

This isn’t a galaxy far, far away, but that didn’t keep fans from celebrating the “Star Wars” universe and James Earl Jones earlier this week. Jones is one of the most beloved actors to play a part in the iconic sci-fi film series.

That celebration, of course, was “Star Wars Day.” This celebration of all things in that galaxy far, far away – think the Jedi, the Empire, the Force, lightsabers, Ewoks, for example – takes place each year on May 4.

This date prompts fans of the fictional universe to share the phrase “May the 4th Be With You” with one another on social media. This phrase, of course, sounds very similar to “May the Force Be With You.” This is often said in the “Star Wars” films.

This year, the United States Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) decided to shine a spotlight on the beloved actor’s military service. The official ROTC Twitter account shared a photo of Jones. He famously provided the voice of Darth Vader in “Star Wars.” Thanks, in part, to the actor’s work, Darth Vader became one of the most famous villains in film history.

According to the tweet, the now 90-year-old James Earl Jones began his tenure in the United States Army ROTC while he was a student at the University of Michigan. Here’s the tweet.

Details About Military Service by James Earl Jones Shared in Celebration of ‘Star Wars Day’

The Army ROTC tweet also included a link that shared additional details about the time James Earl Jones spent in the military.

While at the University of Michigan, Jones “excelled as a cadet,” according to a blog by VA.gov. He was part of the Scabbard and Blade Honor Society, as well as part of the Pershing Rifles Drill Team. In 1953, he was commissioned and went to Fort Benning, Georgia, to train. There, he studied in Ranger school. And impressively, he helped create a cold-weather training location in Colorado. He left his military service as a first lieutenant in the United States Army.

The hard work, dedication, and discipline that helped James Earl Jones excel in the military carried over to his acting career. And, while voicing Darth Vader is something he will always be remembered for, it shouldn’t be the only thing.

For example, did you know he was the second African American actor ever to be nominated for an Oscar? Well, he was for his role in “The Great White Hope.” He later received an honorary Academy Award. He also went on to win two Tony Awards for his stage work. James Earl Jones has also received a Grammy and two Emmy Awards during his illustrious career.