A short (semi-tough) quiz on Presidents who were Veterans


Monday, February 15 is President’s Day.

The Army and Army Reserve can claim the most US presidents – 15. And then way back to State Militias for nine presidents. Six Navy and Navy Reserve Veterans have served as president and then way back again for two from the Continental Army.

There were eight future presidents in uniform in World War II and seven in the Civil War.

Here’s a tougher-than-usual quiz about some of our presidents who were Veterans. The answers are below along with a link to a White House web site with a lot of history about all the presidents.

  1. In the Civil War, he commanded a Brigade during Sherman’s “March to the Sea”
  2. He was an Army Major General in the War of 1812
  3. Served as a Captain in the Army Air Corp in WW II.
  4. Final rank: Army Major General – Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Creek War, First Seminole War
  5. Army Major General – Civil War – Commanded Ohio Brigade at the Battle of Shiloh
  6. He served stateside as a Navy Lieutenant during Korean War
  7. Did not see action but he was a Colonel in the Virginia Militia during the Revolutionary War
  8. Same as #7 but was also Commander of the Albermarle County Militia
  9. Pilot Lieutenant during Vietnam War – Texas National Guard
  10. Army Colonel in WW I
  11. Only President to receive the Medal of Honor – Army Colonel in Spanish-American War
  12. Military Governor of Tennessee and Army Brigadier General in the Civil War
  13. Navy Lieutenant Commander in WW II – Served on the USS Monterey
  14. Army Brevet Major in the Civil War – 23rd Ohio Infantry – Fought at the Battle of Antietam
  15. Army General – Career spanned from 1915 to 1969 with a couple of very significant breaks.

Collage of Presidents


  1. Benjamin Harrison. 2. William Henry Harrison 3. Ronald Reagan 4. Andrew Jackson 5. James Garfield 6. Jimmy Carter 7. James Madison 8. Thomas Jefferson 9. George W. Bush 10. Harry Truman 11. Theodore Roosevelt 12. Andrew Johnson 13. Gerald Ford 14. William McKinley 15. Dwight Eisenhower


You can read about all the Presidents on the White House website.


Hans Petersen

Hans Petersen is senior writer-editor for Digital Media, VHA Office of Communications. An Air Force Veteran, Hans also served two years in the Peace Corps and worked for 20 years in broadcasting before joining VA.


  1. Tnavarro    

    I thought George H W Bush was a verteran?

  2. tom jung    

    That guy Washington was a pretty good veteran too….

  3. Bill Befort    

    All I had to do was append a snarky comment! Should have known . . . .

  4. Bill Befort    

    To paraphrase Bill Mauldin: Excellent list! Is there one for the enlisted men?

    **I’ve tried submitting this three times, each time falling afoul of the CAPTCHA code. What was I expecting from a VA site?

  5. Bill    

    To paraphrase Bill Mauldin: Excellent list! Is there one for the enlisted men?

  6. NJ Farrand    

    Having served as OIC of Combat Air Transport on Guadalcanal, Richard Nixon deserved mention. As a Quaker and a civil servant, he was under no compulsion to join uniformed services during WWII, but he waived all of that & served with distinction. Nothing about his later political career should be taken to discredit his honorable, voluntary wartime overseas service. I’m glad he resigned from Presidential office, and I think the way most Americans remember his presidency is deaerved. But as a fellow war vet, I was honored to have been on flag detail while stationed with the Army in Germany at the time of his death, and performed my duties thereto entailed with the highest level of professionalism I could provide in rendering homors to my fellow Veteran who just happened later in life to have been our chief executive. Combat Air Logistics were pretty important during the Solomons Campaign; just ask any historically-grounded Marine from that bloody theater.

  7. Douglas Nathan    

    There are some serious questions here; like what breaks are refereed to in Eisenhower’s career?

  8. J M Cassell    

    Lincoln, Hayes, Grant, Truman, Kennedy, Nixon: some of the greatest (or at least well known) names in American history. Were you asleep when you wrote your article?

  9. Thomas L Tuohy    

    No mention of Abraham Lincoln (militia captain, Black Hawk War) or Rutherford B. Hayes (Major General, Civil War) either, but it’s supposed to be a quiz, not a comprehensive list.


  10. Andrew Merkel    

    Some amazing oversights in your quiz…

    Has anyone ever heard of President Ulysses S Grant? President Richard M Nixon?

  11. Academic Veteran    

    Great feature but #10 is not quite right. Harry Truman served as a captain during WWI, and ultimately retired as a colonel. (http://www.trumanlibrary.org/hstpaper/rg407.htm)

    1. Richard Patrick Murray USN '58 - '64    

      How could JFK, a great President, and war hero, be left off the list?

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