How Many Presidents Served in the Military?

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As of 2015, 26 United States presidents are military veterans; that constitutes the majority of the 43 men who have served as president so far. Presidents have served in various military branches in various conflicts throughout history, including the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War and more modern branches such as the United States Army, Air Force and Navy. Presidents have also held different ranks in the military. For example, George Washington was a highly influential General during the Revolutionary War, while President George W. Bush was a member of the Air Force Reserve during the Vietnam War.

Other U.S. presidents have followed in the military leadership footsteps of the nation's first president. Prior to serving as the 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant was the commander of the Union Army during the American Civil War, an experience that shaped Grant's presidency. President Dwight D. Eisenhower was another high ranking military official whose leadership in France during World War II helped shape his public image. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were all military veterans, though none had the high military leadership pedigrees of some of their presidential predecessors.