The Late 50s Had a lot of Elvis Sightings in Central Texas
It was 58 years ago today that Elvis Presley finished his basic at Fort Hood.
The King of Rock & Roll was a Tanker. Yep. Back in 1953, 18-year-old Elvis, like everyone else, registered for the U.S. Selective Service System. Back then young men of good health were expected to serve two years active, and 4 more reserve.
By 1956 Elvis was a superstar with multiple recordings and movies under his belt. But, on January 4th, 1957, he took an army pre-induction physical. And, on his 22nd birthday, four days later, the Memphis Draft Board held a press conference and announced Elvis was in good enough shape, and would probably be drafted 1A sometime later that year.
He was deferred until March, 1958.
According to Elvis Australia, the Air Force and the Navy started vying for his services by announcing a special "Elvis Company" in the Navy, and a special touring routine for the Air Force recruiting centers. He turned them both down to be a "regular Joe" in the Army.
He got his draft notice in December, but had to ask for a deferment because he was shooting "King Creole" at the time. He was deferred until March, 1958.
He got his famous army haircut at Ft. Chaffee in Arkansas, and from there he was assigned to the Second Armored Divisions "Hell On Wheels" unit at Ft. Hood.
His parents moved to Killeen, and he was given permission to live off post with them. After his Tank training was finished, on September 19th, he was shipped to the Brooklyn Army Terminal where he boarded the U.S.S. Randall and sailed to Germany.
He did 18 months in Germany before being honorably discharged at Ft. Dix in New Jersey. Four years later he was discharged from the Army Reserve in 1964.