The King Earns His Stripes
In this image from March, 1958, Elvis Presley is seen being sworn-in for military duty at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas.
On January 8, 1957, Presley received a unique gift for his twenty-second birthday. On that day the Memphis Draft Board held a press conference to announce the superstar would be drafted within the year, with a 1-A classification. As the Selective Service System mandated all eligible young men to be available to serve in the military for two years, it should have been a routine affair, but this was the 'King of Rock and Roll'.
Both the Air Force and Navy offered bids for his service, the Navy even offering to create a specially trained 'Elvis Presley company'. Presley would shun the offers and fanfare, instead serving as a regular soldier in the U.S. Army from March 1958 to March 1960, earning his full Sergeant stripes.
It would be an important time in Presley's life: while serving overseas in Germany, he was introduced to 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu, his future wife. Unfortunately, he was also introduced to amphetamines, his future downfall.