Elvis Presley: What The King Considers the ‘Biggest Thing’ He Did While Serving in the Military

by Jacklyn Krol
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Elvis Presley‘s time in the military changed his life and perspectives in more ways than one.

He served in the United States Army for two years. During that time he said he had “quite a few interesting experiences.”

“[I] slept out in the snow, ate through rations,” he once said during a press conference. “I suppose the biggest thing is that I did make it.”

He also noted that he “tried to play it straight like everybody else.” He continued, “I made a lot of friends that I wouldn’t have made otherwise. All in all, it’s been a pretty good experience.”

Despite his celebrity status, he wanted to be treated like everyone else. Some people were even waiting to see him fail.

“People were expecting me to mess up, to goof up in one way or another,” he said according to “Elvis: Word For Word.” “They thought I couldn’t take it and so forth, and I was determined to go to any limits to prove otherwise. Not only to the people who were wondering but to myself.”

The adjustment to the lifestyle and new country took some time for Elvis Presley to get used to.

“I was in a strange land and the outfit I was in, we had quite a bit of field duty,” he revealed. “We stayed in a field for six months out of the year and it gets cold in Germany. It was pretty hard to adjust to.”

All About Elvis Presley’s Time in the Army

Elvis Presley was officially drafted into the Army on March 24, 1958. His fans dubbed the day “Black Monday.” This followed his deferral as he was working on filming the movie King Creole when he was originally supposed to begin his service.

He was one of the lower class privates and even shaved his hair to the military cut. Presley decided against taking any special role like the Special Services or just recruiting, to actually be in the action like everyone else. He said that if he didn’t do the full two years as a typical soldier it would have been “unfair.”

During his time serving, he operated tanks, machinery, and drove trucks. He was then transferred to Friedberg in West Germany to act as a cavalry scout. Elvis Presley became a member of the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32nd Armor. During that time, he achieved the title of “expert” in the rifle and became a Sergeant.

Finally, he was officially discharged on March 23, 1964.

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