Tom Selleck: Everything to Know About His Time Serving in Military

by Keeli Parkey

Tom Selleck has had a very successful career in Hollywood. He has had hit television shows like “Magnum, P.I.” and “Blue Bloods.” He has also appeared in many popular films, such as “Three Men and a Baby,” “Quigley Down Under,” and “Mr. Baseball.”

In addition to his acting career, did you know that Selleck also had a successful career in the military? Well, he did. Let’s take a look at his career now.

To understand how Tom Selleck entered the military, we need to look back at his childhood. According to an article about the actor on, he was born in Detroit, Michigan. His father eventually moved the family to California.

He reportedly graduated from high school there during 1962. After high school, Selleck wanted to go to the University of Southern California; however, he couldn’t pay for it. So, he went to Valley Junior College. He saved money from modeling jobs during college.

Selleck was able to afford the University of Southern California by his junior year. And, his acting career came calling while he was there – even though he was majoring in business administration. He was hired to act in a Pepsi commercial and was recruited into a talent program at Twentieth Century Fox, according to the article. It was in the talent program that Tom Selleck really began to understand what it takes to be an actor.

“I think, when I went to Fox, I was on my own with no frame of reference, no connection,” Selleck reportedly said. “I’d never done a play in my life. I started at about 35 bucks a week, and every six months you either got fired or renewed. If you got renewed, you got a raise on their term contracts.”

Tom Selleck Says He is ‘Proud’ of His Military Service

As he was trying to be an actor, Tom Selleck “was issued draft orders” during the Vietnam War, according to So, he decided to sign up with the 160th infantry regiment of the California National Guard. His service took place from 1967 until 1973.

The military must have seen something in Selleck that Hollywood also did. Maybe it was his star power? Anyway, the actor’s images were used on recruiting posters for the California National Guard.

His time in the military was an important part of Tom Selleck’s life. And, he has remembered it fondly.

“I am a veteran, I’m proud of it,” he has said. “I was a sergeant in the U.S. Army infantry, National Guard, Vietnam era. We’re all brothers and sisters in that sense.”

Interestingly, Tom Selleck was eventually “fired” from his job working in the talent program at Twentieth Century Fox.

“And then I was going to be drafted, and I got into an infantry National Guard unit and did six months active duty in the middle of my time at Fox,” Selleck said, according to “I had my job when I came back, and then they fired me.”

Despite that setback, things really worked out for Tom Selleck.