Desmond Doss was a US Army corporal. Doss served as a combat medic in World War II. For his actions during the Battle of Okinawa, Desmond Doss became the only conscientious objector to be honored with the prestigious Medal of Honor as he saved 75 men. His life and work inspired several books and the biographical war film Hacksaw Ridge.
Audie Murphy displayed such valor as an American soldier in World War II that he did not have problems establishing a successful acting career after the war, as he was already famous for his heroism which he demonstrated by single-handedly holding off many German soldiers for an hour before leading a successful counterattack despite being wounded and out of ammunition.
Bruce Kingsbury was an Australian soldier best remembered for his efforts during the Second World War. Kingsbury lost his life while counter-attacking the Japanese forces during the Battle of Isurava. Kingsbury's counter-attack proved beneficial for the Australians and his bravery during the battle was honored with the Victoria Cross.
German army officer Claus von Stauffenberg, a significant figure of the German Resistance Movement within the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany, attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler in July 1944, but failed. He was executed by a firing squad soon after Operation Valkyrie. He had earlier actively participated in World War II.
Better known as Mad Jack or Fighting Jack, British Army officer Jack Churchill was an iconic example of a person fighting wars on his own terms. He popularized carrying swords and bagpipes to battles and killed his enemies with his longbow. He inspired a comic strip and several books, too.
John Basilone was a US Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant who played a crucial role in the Battle for Henderson Field, for which he was honored with the Medal of Honor. Basilone died during the Battle of Iwo Jima and was posthumously honored with the Navy Cross, becoming the only enlisted Marine to receive these two decorations in World War II.
One of the most decorated United States Army soldiers of World War I, Alvin York is best remembered for leading an attack on a German machine-gun nest. The son of a poor blacksmith, he started working as a child to contribute to his family income. After joining the army, he became known for his courage and valor.
Soviet sniper Lyudmila Pavlichenko belonged to the Red Army during World War II and is believed to have killed over 300 people. Also known as Lady Death, she was awarded the Order of Lenin and was made a Hero of the Soviet Union. She later became a Soviet Navy researcher.
The son of a soldier and intelligence officer, Rory Stewart was educated at Eton and Oxford and was also a tutor to princes William and Harry. Apart from being a diplomat and MP later, he also traveled across several countries on foot and wrote about this remarkable journey in a bestselling book.
Robert A. Heinlein was an American author, naval officer, and aeronautical engineer. Heinlein is credited with pioneering a literary subgenre called hard science fiction as he was among the first to stress the importance of scientific accuracy in fiction. Robert A. Heinlein is one of the most influential science-fiction writers of all time.
Robert Falcon Scott was an explorer and Royal Navy officer. He is remembered for leading two expeditions to the Antarctic regions, the second of which was the ill-fated Terra Nova expedition. Although Scott and his companions died during the second expedition, they helped discover the first Antarctic fossils, which proved that the place was once forested.
Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was a US Navy lieutenant. The eldest of the famous Kennedy siblings, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. was groomed by his father from a very young age to become the president of the United States. After his death during World War II at age 29, John F. Kennedy took it upon himself to materialize his father's dreams.
Remembered as the most successful fighter pilot in the history of aerial warfare, Erich Hartmann completed 1,400 missions in his Messerschmitt Bf 109 and shot down 352 Allied planes. Known for his dogfighting strategy, he inspired the popular biography The Blond Knight of Germany and became a flight instructor post-retirement.
Sterling Hayden mostly appeared in Westerns and film noir of the 1950s. He had also served in World War II. He gained fame with Stanley Kubrick's The Killing and Dr. Strangelove. He was also a sailor and once sailed to Tahiti to shoot a film that eventually remained unfinished.
American naval officer Richard E. Byrd is remembered for his pioneering expeditions to Antarctica, using airplanes. Though he was awarded a US Congressional Medal of Honor for completing the first flight over the North Pole, it was later revealed that he had returned when he was 150 miles away from the destination.
Doris Miller was a US Navy cook third class. He became the first black American to be honored with the Navy Cross for saving the lives of many sailors aboard West Virginia by manning an anti-aircraft machine gun to shoot down Japanese planes during the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was killed in action while serving in World War II.
Eugene Sledge was a US Marine, author, and university professor. He is remembered for chronicling his Second World War combat experiences in a memoir titled With the Old Breed, which was used as source material for a television documentary miniseries titled The War. The memoir also inspired the 2010 HBO miniseries, The Pacific, where Sledge was played by Joseph Mazzello.
Born into a Jewish working-class, immigrant family in Brooklyn, Howard Zinn was initially dragged into communism. He was part of the U.S. Army during World War II and later established himself as a historian. Of his many books, the most popular has been A People's History of the United States.
Lauri Törni was a Finnish-born American soldier who served in the Vietnam War as part of the U.S. Army Special Forces. He died during the war due to a helicopter crash in 1965. In the 1990s, several books were written about Lauri Törni, making him a war hero. He was inducted into the USSOCOM Commando Hall of Honor in 2011.
Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina was a Dominican dictator. He ruled the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961, serving as president for 18 years and as an unelected military strongman for the rest of the time. While he was in power, the Dominican Republic witnessed large-scale violence and his 31-year-rule is regarded as one of the bloodiest eras in the Americas.
Nazi World War II pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel hated academics but loved skiing as a young man. He is believed to have destroyed 519 Soviet tanks and even got a leg amputated. Post-war, he went to Argentina briefly, wrote books, and also became an entrepreneur after returning to Germany.
Jack Hawkins was an English actor best remembered for playing military men during the 1950s. Hawkins achieved international stardom in the '50s when he entered Hollywood. In 1958, Jack Hawkins was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to the art.