Air Force Star Power

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By Debbie Gregory.

Besides fame, another thing all of these celebrities have in common is that they served in the U.S. Air Force. Some of them used their military education benefits to further their careers. Others used their experiences in uniform as the springboard for a life in the spotlight.

It was rumored that Johnny Cash bought his first guitar at a base exchange while stationed with the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile at Landsberg, Germany. Cash translated Soviet Army Morse Code messages, and is cited as the first operator to learn of Joseph Stalin’s death.

The late Bob Ross was an American painter, art instructor, and television host. He was widely known as the creator and host of The Joy of Painting. The Air Force is credited with giving Ross his positive outlook on life. Ross served as a first sergeant while stationed at Eielson AFB in Alaska, where he first saw the snow and mountains that later became recurring themes in his artwork. He developed his quick-painting technique to create art for sale during brief daily work breaks. He is quoted as saying that since he had to be “mean” and “tough”, he would never scream again after leaving the military.

Morgan Freeman turned down a partial drama scholarship to enlist in the Air Force, where he served as a radar technician. While Freeman originally wanted to be a fighter pilot, he found the stage calling his name, and after four years, left the Air Force.

After dropping out of high school in 1954, George Carlin joined the Air Force. He was trained as a radar technician, and was stationed in Barksdale AFB in Bossier City, Louisiana. He once said, “Obviously I’m against militaries, because of what militaries do. In many ways though, the Air Force was unmilitary-like. They dropped bombs on people, but…they had a golf course.” Carlin used the GI Bill to cover the costs of broadcasting school.

Carlos Ray Norris, better known as Chuck Norris, was an Air Force security forces member. Known for his martial arts skills, Norris, first learned his moves while stationed in Korea. His love of karate is also where he got his nickname Chuck. After four years Norris left the service to start a new career – opening his first karate school.

David Adkins, better known by his stage name Sinbad, served as a boom operator aboard KC-135 Stratotankers. While assigned to the 384th Air Refueling Wing at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kansas, he would often travel downtown to perform stand-up comedy. He competed as a comedian in the Air Force’s Talent Contest in 1981. Sinbad was almost dismissed with a dishonorable discharge for various misbehaviors.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Injured Veterans Triumph in the 2016 Invictus Games


By Debbie Gregory.

The VA was proud to support the more than 500 ill and injured military Veterans from 15 Nations who traveled to Orlando, Florida, to compete in the 2016 Invictus Games.

The competitors  hailed from Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Jordan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States

VA Secretary Bob McDonald said, “These Games highlight the perseverance and determination of so many of our allied nations’ disabled and injured military Veterans. This competition shows exactly how adaptive sports greatly improves the quality of life of these heroes…”

“Invictus” means unconquered in Latin. The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their countries.

The Invictus Games were the brainchild of Great Britain’s Prince Harry. He realized how the power of sport could physically, psychologically, and socially help an injured servicemembers .

“I served along with soldiers from all over the world,” Prince Harry said at the opening ceremony. “I saw the sacrifices they and their families made to serve their nations. I learned about the importance of team work and camaraderie in the way that only military service can teach you.”

First lady Michelle Obama, Britain’s Prince Harry and Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman delivered stirring speeches after performances from the U.S. Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon, U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, soprano Laura Wright and singer-songwriter James Blunt.

The closing ceremonies on May 12th included performances by Rachel Platten, Rascal Flatts, Phillip Phillips, Flo Rida, Season 9 winner of the Voice Jordan Smith, and the first nationally-recognized wounded warrior band, Vetted.

To see the results of the games, visit

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.