By J.G. Noll

Ever sit on your couch, watching This Is Us, and crying so hard you couldn’t see the screen? (If have, you’re not alone!) We get it. And, even though it holds us emotionally hostage for an hour a week, we can’t get enough of the NBC dramedy. (Talk about Stockholm Syndrome!) In between reaching for tissues and pushing play on the DVR, we couldn’t help wondering– are there any military connections to the show everyone can’t stop watching or talking about?

Turns out there are. And more than a few of them will surprise you!

1. Heartthrob and heart-breakingly awesome TV dad, Milo Ventimiglia, is the child of a Vietnam veteran. 


2. Before This is Us, Sterling K. Brown, who plays the adult Randall, was best known for his portrayal of Dr. Roland Burton on Army Wives.


A photo posted by This Is Us (@nbcthisisus) on



3. And his real-life wife, Ryan Michelle Bathe, who plays Yvette in This Is Us, also co-starred with him on Army Wives


4. Christine Metz is a Navy brat. She was born in Florida and lived in Japan while her father was stationed there. (Then they moved back to Florida again.) She plays grown-up Kate on the show.


5. Susan Kelechi Watson (Beth Pearson) wasn’t a real-life intel analyst for the Navy… but she played one on NCIS for three episodes.

6. Jon Huertas, who plays Miguel on the show, enlisted in the Air Force in 1987 and served for eight years. He is a veteran of Operation Just Cause and Operation Desert Storm. 


7. On screen, Huertas has played numerous military-connected roles, including Lt. Bradley Elias in Stealth Fighter, Sergeant Vincent Degetau in  The Objective, and Sergeant Antonio ‘Poke’ Espera in Generation Kill. He also played smaller roles on JAG and NCIS.

8. Huertas has publicly attributed his success in acting and entertainment to his time in the Air Force.

Here are 10 surprising military connections to ‘This Is Us’
(Photo: US Air Force)

9. Gerald Lee McRaney (Dr. K.) once played General Alan Adamle in two episodes of The West Wing. He portrayed a Vietnam veteran in one episode of Hawaii Five-O, played a Marine Corps veteran on Simon & Simon, was a Marine officer on Major Dad, and can be seen as General Luntz in Red Tails

10. Throughout the years– including during Operation Desert Storm and Operation Restore Hope– McRaney has regularly participated in USO trips as he is a long-time supporter of veterans and the military.

Here are 10 surprising military connections to ‘This Is Us’
(Photo: US Air Force)

J.G. Noll is the Editor of Military One Click and a veteran’s spouse. She can be reached at