Elvis Joins the Army: March 24, 1958

Elvis Joins the Army

On March 4, 1958, 23-year-old Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army.

Elvis to be sent to Ft. Hood

Elvis, like other young men, had registered for the draft when he turned 18. Then, despite his ensuing fame, he was declared eligible for induction in January 1957, with his draft notice arriving that December. Though he was supposed to report to the Army in January 1958, Elvis was granted a deferment until March so he could finish his current film, King Creole.

Elvis was processed into the Army on March 24, 1958, at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, surrounded by family, friends, and a sea of reporters. The singer entered regular Army service as a private, rather than joining Special Services, in which he would have entertained troops. Elvis was sent to Fort Hood, Texas, for basic training and was assigned to the 2nd Armored Division. While he was at Fort Hood, his mother, with whom he was very close, became seriously ill. Elvis was granted emergency leave, and he was able to make it to her bedside before she passed away in August.

With his training complete, in September Elvis was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division and was sent to Germany. There, Elvis apparently served dutifully and well as a driver, despite the constant media attention and fledgling amphetamine abuse.Elvis showing his sergeant's stripes
It was while he was serving in Germany that he met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, whom he would later marry. Elvis achieved the rank of sergeant in February 1960, and a month later, on March 5, he was honorably discharged from active duty at the age of 25.

While Elvis had been busy with the Army, his manager, Tom Parker, had been busy keeping the singer’s career rolling. Over the two years of Elvis’s service, Parker released songs that had been recorded before the singer left. Less than a month after returning home, Elvis recorded a new album and a single, “Stuck on You,” which hit number one on the charts the following month. Despite his fear that his fans would leave him in his two-year absence, Elvis was back in business.

Are you an Elvis fan? Find more articles about him on Newspapers.com.

Share using:

11 thoughts on “Elvis Joins the Army: March 24, 1958

  1. My dad was on the same train with Elvis Presley in Germany shortly after Elvis enlisted in the Army. My dad was headed to the location he was being stationed after having served time for the US Army in England. Daddy said Elvis was on another railcar of the same train and never met Elvis.

  2. I wonder how many modern famous singers would join the service now that there is no more draft. Darned few, I expect.

    • I seriously doubt that Elvis would have joined the army either if he hadn’t been drafted. He didn’t need help with college even if he did want to go, which he didn’t. Besides, since he was so famous, the army never would have put him in harms way. No Korea for Elvis!!!

  3. Served in the same Armour Division as Elvis in 1959. Saw him several times in the PX cafeteria while on field duty in Grafenwohr and there was always a buzz in the room when he came in the door.

  4. When in intensive care after being wounded Iin Vietnam we were allowed to make calls home from the nurses station at thanksgiving. After a while a colonel came in and wanted to call his daughter in Hollywood. Asked for the number he didn’t know but said it was Elvis’s home. After much help by phone company personnel in LA he got through to Priscilla. He was very helpful to the nurses fetching and carrying. Nice fella was Priscilla’s dad.

  5. He was a great singer and actor. Wish he could have been around a little while longer.

  6. I visited the Elvis mansion and signature wall in Memphis. Amazing singer. I always wonder if his twin brother would have shared his fame. Good article from times past.

  7. I was Stationed in Germany(4th armored division) when Elvis was there. Went to Grafenwohr training area at the same time he was.but never saw him. Did not go around looking for him but it would have been a kick if i had seen him. Met a few guys on the ship coming home that served in his unit, They said he was a pretty good soldier.

  8. Elvis, like other young men, had registered for the draft when he turned 18. Then, despite his ensuing fame, he was declared eligible for induction in January 1957, with his draft notice arriving that December. Though he was supposed to report to the Army in January 1958, Elvis was granted a deferment until March so he could finish his current film, King Creole.

    Elvis achieved the rank of sergeant in February 1960, and a month later, on March 5, he was honorably discharged from active duty at the age of 25.

    How do you gain 7 yrs of age in 2 yrs?

  9. Born = 1935; Registered for Draft @ 18 = 1953; Draft Notice @ 22 = 1957; Inducted @ 23 = 1958; Discharged @ 25 = 1960.

Comments are closed.