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.
A U.S. Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle was the recipient of one Silver Star Medal and a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal. He was a respected figure who had performed many acts of heroism. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy in 2009. In an unfortunate turn of events, he was murdered by a former Marine in 2013.
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.
Pat Tillman was an American football player who represented the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. Tillman's decision to join the US Army after the September 11, 2001 attacks proved to be costly as he died in Afghanistan as a result of friendly fire. He became the first football player since Bob Kalsu to be killed in combat.
Nineteenth-century Lakota war lord Crazy Horse, of the Oglala subtribe, is remembered as a legendary hero who fought against white encroachment of Native American territories. He was part of the Black Hills War and the Battle of the Little Bighorn. He died fighting at Camp Robinson, in modern-day Nebraska.
Michael P. Murphy was a US Navy SEAL officer. In 2007, Murphy became the first member of the US Navy to be honored with the prestigious Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War. He received the award posthumously for his participation in many War on Terrorism missions in Afghanistan, where he died fighting Taliban forces, at the age of 29.
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.
Retired United States Marine, Dakota Meyer, is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Ganjgal, becoming the second-youngest living Medal of Honor recipient. Following his retirement, he sought help for post-traumatic stress disorder. He advocates for legalizing the medical use of cannabis.
Newton Knight was an American soldier, farmer, and Southern Unionist in Mississippi. He is best remembered for leading a band of Confederate army deserters known as the Knight Company, who opposed the Confederacy during the American Civil War. His life and work have inspired films, such as Tap Roots and Free State of Jones.
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.
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.
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.
A frontiersman and a fur-trapper, Kit Carson played a major role in the US’s westward expansion. Mostly known for guiding explorer John C. Frémont, he was criticized for his contribution to the displacement of native Americans as an Indian agent. He became part of folk legend for his exploits as a fighter, too.
Nathan Hale was an American soldier, Patriot, and spy who worked for the Continental Army. He played an important role during the American Revolutionary War, volunteering for an intelligence-gathering mission. Nathan Hale was captured and executed by the British in 1776. Hale is regarded as an American hero for his important contribution during the American Revolutionary War.
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.
Kazimierz Pułaski was a Polish nobleman, military commander, and soldier. Dubbed the father of the American cavalry, Pulaski is credited with creating the Pulaski Cavalry Legion and reorganizing the American cavalry. He played an important role in the American Revolutionary War and is remembered for fighting for the independence of Poland and the United States.