The United States Army Formally Drafts Elvis Presley

Today on December 20, 1957, Elvis Presley receives his draft notice from the United States Army.

Elvis Aaron Presley, dubbed as the King of Rock and Roll, was perhaps the greatest American rock singers in history. According to Rolling Stone Magazine, he was one of the most significant cultural icons of the twentieth century. Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and began his music career at the age of 19. In 1954, he released his first single, Heartbreak Hotel, which quickly became a number one hit across the country. He subsequently released two more chart-topping singles with Blue Suede Shoes and Hound Dog. Elvis also starred in multiple network television shows, turning him into a common household name. Industry pundits consider him to be the world’s first rock and roll superstar.

Only three years into his budding career, Elvis was surprised to learn that the United States Army had drafted him. He received the formal notice while spending the Christmas holidays at his newly purchased mansion in Graceland, Tennessee. It stipulated that he must serve a full two-year term with the army overseas. Fans erupted into anger when the news broke, with thousands of people writing letters to the government demanding an exemption. However, the young superstar was committed to serving his time. He was granted one deferment so that he could finish working on his movie named King Creole. On March 24, 1958, Elvis Presley was formally sworn in as an army private.

Like all other recruits, Elvis received six months of basic military training before joining Company D of the 32nd Tank Battalion. He eventually sailed to Europe and spent eighteen months in Friedberg, Germany. After being promoted to the rank of Sergeant, he quickly became popular among fellow soldiers. Elvis was remembered for hosting many impromptu performances while on base. During his stay in Germany, he met a woman named Priscilla who he eventually married in 1967. Upon returning to America, he immediately became a national hero. Government and military leaders used him as a symbol of bravery for young men that were forced into service.

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