Steve McQueen

steveMcqueen BARThe famous actor from the 1960’s and 1970’s Steve McQueen was a U.S. Marine.  He joined the Corps in 1947, at the age of 17.  He was promoted to PFC  and assigned to an armored unit.  During his three years in the Corps, his rebellious nature got him demoted to private SEVEN times.  On one occasion, after a weekend liberty pass, McQueen went “UA”  (unauthorized absence) and stayed with a girlfriend for two weeks until the shore patrol caught him.  He then resisted arrest and spent 41 days in the brig; the first 21 were spent living off of bread and water.  After this he focused his energies on self-improvement and embraced the Marine Corps values.

Later on his unit was performing a training exercise in the Arctic,  the ship that he and his unit were on hit a sandbank and threw several tanks and their crews into the water.  Many of them drowned but McQueen jumped in and saved the lives of five men.

In recognition of his actions, McQueen was chosen for Presidential duty,  in the Honor Guard protecting Harry S. Truman’s yacht. McQueen stayed with the Marines until 1950 when he was honorably discharged. “The Marines gave me discipline I could live with. By the time I got out, I could deal with things on a more realistic level. All in all, despite my problems, I liked my time in the Marines,” McQueen said.

After leaving the Marines, McQueen used the G.I. Bill to study acting at Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse.  His acting career was very successful with 44 credited TV shows and movies, and 4 producing credits.

You can learn more about Steve McQueen, here. (click on image, below)


2 thoughts on “Steve McQueen”

  1. There was a rumor in the 1960’s while I was stationed at Camp Pendleton that Steve McQueen painted an amtrac pink and drove it down the main street of Oceanside. Truth, or urban legend?

    1. McQueen’s service record was one of almost 1.2 million files made available for public perusal June 11 at the National Archives’ National Personnel Records Center facility in St. Louis.

      According to Marine lore, McQueen was court-martialed for driving a commandeered amphibious assault vehicle down Basilone Road at the California base. Some accounts even say the vehicle was painted pink.

      In reality, his recently released personnel file shows McQueen, joined the Corps in 1948 at age 17, served as a tank driver and mechanic at Camp Lejeune, N.C., where his only crime was an unauthorized absence, for which he spent 30 days in the brig.

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