George H.W. Bush from HISTORY's two-night event "Presidents at War" premiering Sunday, Feb. 17. Photo by Brendan George Ko/History
A new History Channel special will focus on eight American presidents who served in uniform in the United States military before serving as commander in chief.
The two-night special, Presidents At War, will begin Feb. 17, and focuses on Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and will tell the story of how their time in uniform changed them, and ultimately shaped their tenure as president.
With luck, the series will look at how their service shaped not just their lives, but the country they would go on to lead. At least, that's the hope.
Yes, this is supposed to be Richard Nixon.Photo by Brendan George Ko/History
Their experiences, while varied, offer a glimpse of American presidents before they sat in Oval Office. And we may have a chance to see them back when they wore fatigues instead of suits; followed orders instead of giving them; and executed the war plans of sitting presidents, instead of making their own.
At just 20 years old George H. W. Bush was one of the Navy's youngest pilots when he was shot down over the Japanese-controlled island of Chichi Jima on Sept. 2, 1944, after his aircraft completed its bombing run. The sole survivor from his aircraft, Bush spent hours alone at sea, waiting anxiously in a life raft before being rescued.
John F. Kennedy, then in his mid-20s, was a Navy patrol boat commander in August 1943, when their plan to ambush a Japanese destroyer near the Solomon Islands went awry, and left their boat cut in two. The crew was tossed into the dark water, and forced to swim miles to a nearby island, where they hid from patrolling Japanese boats. There, they tried to get word to allied forces that they needed to be rescued.
And here we have a reenactment of Ronald Reagan while serving with the Army's motion picture unit.Photo by Brendan George Ko/History
The aim of the Presidents Day special, and a missed opportunity should it fail to do so, is to look at how their service informed their decisions as leaders who would eventually commit other American troops to wars, battles and engagements across the globe.
History Channel's Presidents At War, premieres Sunday February 17.
The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the Defense Department's authority to prosecute retired service members for crimes they commit, even after retirement.
The court on Tuesday chose not to hear the case of a retired Marine who was court-martialed for a sexual assault he committed three months after leaving the service in August 2015. By not accepting the case, Larrabee v. the United States, the court upheld the status quo: that military retirees are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A formation of U.S. Army soldiers with III Corps and Fort Hood honor the American flag as they lower it during the Retreat ceremony March 27, 2014. Retreat is conducted at the end of the day, every day, to honor the flag, which is raised during the Reveille ceremony each morning. All activity on the base stops for the duration of both ceremonies as soldiers pause, face the flag, and salute. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ken Scar, 7th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Ken Scar)
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Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker, a 3rd Infantry Division Soldier who was assigned to Company A, 1st Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment and killed in action in Iraq in 2003, is depicted in a photo illustration alongside the Distinguished Service Cross medal, which he is slated to posthumously receive for his heroic actions during Operation Iraqi Freedom, April 5, 2018, in Pittsburgh, Pa. (U.S. Army)
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