Famous 20th Century Soldiers

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite Soldiers

 1 Desmond Doss

Desmond Doss
4
Famous As: U. S. Army Corporal
Birthdate: February 7, 1919
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Lynchburg
Died: March 23, 2006

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.

 2 Audie Murphy

Audie Murphy
4
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: June 20, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Kingston, Texas, United States
Died: May 28, 1971

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.

Recommended Lists:

 3 Bruce Kingsbury

Bruce Kingsbury
4
Famous As: Victoria Cross Winner
Birthdate: January 8, 1918
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Melbourne
Died: August 29, 1942

 4 Simo Häyhä

Simo Häyhä
4
Famous As: Sniper
Birthdate: December 17, 1905
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rautjärvi
Died: April 1, 2002
Simo Häyhä was a Finnish sniper who served in the Winter War against the Soviet Union, in 1939–1940. He had killed 500 men in the war and received many awards for his exploits. His face was disfigured by a Red Army bullet, and he later retired to a farm.

 5 Tammy Duckworth

Tammy Duckworth
8
Famous As: U.S. Representative
Birthdate: March 12, 1968
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bangkok

A war veteran who lost both her legs during the Iraq War, Tammy Duckworth is a symbol of courage and resilience. Her never-say-die spirit enabled her to become the first woman with a disability and the first Thai-American woman to earn a seat in Congress. She is the first member of Senate to give birth while in office.

 6 Jocko Willink

Jocko Willink
4
Famous As: Author
Birthdate: September 8, 1971
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Torrington, Connecticut, United States

Jocko Willink is an American podcaster, author, and retired US Navy officer. Willink, who served in the Navy SEALs, played an important role in the Iraq War. He served as the commanding officer for Task Unit Bruiser, which fought the Iraqi insurgents in Ramadi. He was honored with the Bronze Star and Silver Star Medal for his service.

 7 Randy Couture

Randy Couture
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 22, 1963
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Everett, Washington, United States

Randy Couture is a former U.S. Army sergeant and retired mixed martial artist. He currently works as an actor. He began his career as an army man and later turned to mixed martial arts. In this field, he was a three-time UFC Heavyweight Champion. After quitting UFC, he became an actor and starred in the hit film The Hard Way. 

You May Like

 8 Buffalo Bill

Buffalo Bill
4
Famous As: Hunter
Birthdate: February 26, 1846
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Scott County
Died: January 10, 1917
William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody was a legendary showman and bison hunter who had also been a Union soldier. He began working as a freight carrier at 11 and later performed in Wild West-themed shows. He later formed Buffalo Bill's Wild West and toured across the U.S. and Europe.

 9 Grace Hopper

Grace Hopper
4
Famous As: Computer Scientist
Birthdate: December 9, 1906
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: New York City
Died: January 1, 1992
Computer scientist and U.S. Navy rear admiral Grace Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computing system. She pioneered the machine-independent programming language technique, and the FLOW-MATIC language used by her was later used to create COBOL. She received a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 10 Carlos Hathcock

Carlos Hathcock
5
Famous As: Military Personnel
Birthdate: May 20, 1942
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Little Rock, Arkansas
Died: February 23, 1999
Carlos Hathcock was a U.S. Marine sniper who had killed at least 93 enemy personnel in the Vietnam War. He inspired the 1993 movie Sniper. His signature style of attaching a feather to his bush hat earned him the name “White Feather.” He later had a rifle named after him.

 11 Peter Townsend

Peter Townsend
8
Famous As: aviator, writer
Birthdate: November 22, 1914
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Yangon
Died: June 19, 1995

 12 Tyrone Power

Tyrone Power
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 5, 1914
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: November 15, 1958

 13 John Basilone

John Basilone
4
Famous As: Armed Force Officer
Birthdate: November 4, 1916
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States
Died: February 19, 1945

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.

 14 Tony Lip

Tony Lip
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 30, 1930
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, USA
Died: January 4, 2013

 15 Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein
4
Famous As: Allied Commander in World War II
Birthdate: November 17, 1887
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Kennington
Died: March 24, 1976

Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, was a British Army officer who played important roles in World War I, World War II, and the Irish War of Independence. He commanded the British Eighth Army during the Second World War and also oversaw the operations during the Battle of Normandy. Bernard Montgomery has a couple of statues dedicated to him.

 16 Robert A. Heinlein

Robert A. Heinlein
4
Famous As: Science Fiction Writer
Birthdate: July 7, 1907
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Butler, Missouri, United States
Died: May 8, 1988

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.

 17 Tim Kennedy

Tim Kennedy
4
Famous As: Mixed martial artist, Soldier
Birthdate: September 1, 1979
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: San Luis Obispo, California, United States

Tim Kennedy is a retired mixed martial artist. He was a professional mixed martial artist from 2001 until 2016 and has fought in the UFC, Strikeforce, and the WEC, among others. He also simultaneously served in the United States Army while fighting professionally and received a few military awards. He is a TV host, producer, and entrepreneur as well. 

 18 Lyudmila Pavlichenko

Lyudmila Pavlichenko
6
Famous As: Sniper
Birthdate: July 12, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Bila Tserkva, Ukraine
Died: October 27, 1974

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.

 19 Alejandro Villanueva

Alejandro Villanueva
4
Famous As: American Football player
Birthdate: September 22, 1988
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Meridian, Mississippi, United States

 20 Otto Skorzeny

Otto Skorzeny
6
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: June 12, 1908
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Vienna
Died: July 6, 1975
Austrian-born German SS-Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny served in the Waffen-SS during World War II. He led the Gran Sasso raid that rescued Benito Mussolini. He also headed Operation Greif that had German soldiers attacking Allied forces by using uniforms of their enemies. He later spent time in Egypt and Argentina.

 21 Alvin York

Alvin York
4
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: December 13, 1887
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Fentress County, Tennessee, United States
Died: September 2, 1964

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.

 22 Roy Benavidez

Roy Benavidez
4
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: August 5, 1935
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cuero
Died: November 29, 1998

 23 John Wooden

John Wooden
4
Famous As: Basketball coach
Birthdate: October 14, 1910
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Hall, Indiana, United States
Died: June 4, 2010

 24 Jason Robards

Jason Robards
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 26, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Died: December 26, 2000

 25 Jeffrey R. MacDonald

Jeffrey R. MacDonald
4
Famous As: Military physician, Soldier
Birthdate: October 12, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: United States of America

 26 Sterling Hayden

Sterling Hayden
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 26, 1916
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Upper Montclair, Montclair, New Jersey
Died: May 23, 1986

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.

 27 Jessica Lynch

Jessica Lynch
4
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: April 26, 1983
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Palestine, Wirt County, West Virginia

 28 Bob Gunton

Bob Gunton
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 15, 1945
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, USA

 29 Fess Parker

Fess Parker
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 16, 1924
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Died: March 18, 2010

 30 John Conyers

John Conyers
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: May 16, 1929
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Highland Park, Michigan, United States
Died: October 27, 2019

 31 Witold Pilecki

Witold Pilecki
4
Famous As: Nazi-era Polish Army Officer
Birthdate: May 13, 1901
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Olonets
Died: May 25, 1948

Known as prisoner number 4859 at the Auschwitz concentration camp, Witold Pilecki voluntarily got himself arrested to be sent to the camp, so that he could start an anti-Nazi resistance movement. He set up the underground campaign ZOW and was eventually able to escape. Nevertheless, he was executed by communists.

 32 Hal Moore

Hal Moore
6
Famous As: Writer
Birthdate: February 13, 1922
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Bardstown, Kentucky, United States
Died: February 10, 2017

 33 Lloyd Austin

Lloyd Austin
4
Famous As: Military personnel
Birthdate: August 8, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Mobile

 34 William Calley

William Calley
6
Famous As: Military Officer
Birthdate: June 8, 1943
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Miami, Florida, United States

 35 Richard E. Byrd

Richard E. Byrd
4
Famous As: Naval officer
Birthdate: October 25, 1888
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Winchester, Virginia, United States
Died: March 11, 1957

 36 Nicholas Colasanto

Nicholas Colasanto
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 19, 1924
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Died: February 12, 1985

 37 Doris Miller

Doris Miller
4
Famous As: Navy Man
Birthdate: October 12, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Waco, Texas, United States
Died: November 24, 1943

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.

 38 Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina

Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina
6
Famous As: Former President of the Dominican Republic
Birthdate: October 24, 1891
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: San Cristóbal Province, Dominican Republic
Died: May 30, 1961

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.

 39 Eugene Sledge

Eugene Sledge
4
Famous As: Biologist, Soldier, Academic, University teacher, Writer
Birthdate: November 4, 1923
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Mobile
Died: March 3, 2001

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.

 40 Bai Ling

Bai Ling
4
Famous As: Actor, Soldier, Television actor, Model
Birthdate: October 10, 1966
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Chengdu

 41 Erich Hartmann

Erich Hartmann
6
Famous As: Aviator, Officer
Birthdate: April 19, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Weissach
Died: September 20, 1993

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.

 42 Hans-Ulrich Rudel

Hans-Ulrich Rudel
6
Famous As: Pilot
Birthdate: July 2, 1916
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Kondratów, Poland
Died: December 18, 1982

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.

 43 Desmond Llewelyn

Desmond Llewelyn
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 12, 1914
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales, United Kingdom
Died: December 19, 1999

Welsh actor, Desmond Llewelyn, is best known for his role as Q in many James Bond films over a span of four decades. Even though he originally wanted to be a minister, his interest shifted to acting while in high school. He served in the army during World War II and resumed his acting career afterward. 

 44 Gene Kranz

Gene Kranz
4
Famous As: Officer, Engineer
Birthdate: August 17, 1933
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Toledo

 45 Jack Hawkins

Jack Hawkins
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 14, 1910
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Wood Green, London, England, UK
Died: July 18, 1973

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.

 46 William Guarnere

William Guarnere
4
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: April 28, 1923
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 8, 2014

 47 Lauri Törni

Lauri Törni
4
Famous As: Soldier
Birthdate: May 28, 1919
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Viipuri, Finland
Died: October 18, 1965

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.

 48 George Halas

George Halas
4
Famous As: American football player
Birthdate: February 2, 1895
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died: October 31, 1983

 49 Christine Jorgensen

Christine Jorgensen
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: May 30, 1926
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States
Died: May 3, 1989

 50 Harald Quandt

Harald Quandt
6
Famous As: Entrepreneur, Aviator
Birthdate: November 1, 1921
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Charlottenburg
Died: September 22, 1967

Harald Quandt was a German industrialist who ran the industrial empire which he inherited from his father Günther Quandt. The family continues to own a stake in the popular luxury car manufacturer BMW. The family's previously unknown association with Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime was made public in 2007 by the award-winning documentary movie, The Silence of the Quandts.