- Historical event:
- 24 March 1958
- Elvis said that he looked forward to his military service and did not want to be treated any differently from the other recruits.
Elvis Presley already had a great musical and film career behind him when he was drafted into the U.S. Army on this day in 1958. He became a soldier at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. His arrival at the base was a big media event, accompanied by hundreds of fans. Elvis said that he looked forward to his military service and did not want to be treated any differently from the other recruits.
During training, Elvis learned that his mother was sick and got a temporary leave to visit her. She soon died, which deeply affected Elvis (he was very attached to her). After training he was sent as a U.S. soldier at the base in Friedberg, Germany (26 kilometers from Frankfurt). He wholeheartedly accepted the local military life. He purchased TV sets for the base, and bought an extra set of uniforms for everyone in his outfit. He donated his Army salary to charity.
In the army, Elvis studied karate, but he also began to use amphetamines. In Friedberg in Germany he met his future wife Priscilla, who was only 14 years old at the time. After nearly two years of military service, Elvis was finally officially discharged in March 1960, with the rank of sergeant. He soon successfully returned to his singing and acting career, so his stay in the army did not harm his popularity.