What Branch of the Military Did Tom Selleck Serve in and When?

Tom Selleck is one of the most popular and recognizable men on television. The 74-year-old actor began acting nearly 50 years ago and has connected with people across generations. No matter what role he plays, Tom Selleck always demands respect and can effortlessly play the most powerful man in the room, yet one you just can’t help but love.

Over the years, the roles that the actor has taken on, and his own personal experiences, have molded him into an actor who is loved by so many. His personal beliefs, military experience, and strong family values have made him a fan favorite in every project he takes on.

Tom Selleck
Tom Selleck | Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Tom Selleck is known for playing strong, powerful men

Today, Tom Selleck is best known for his role as Frank Reagan in the hit CBS drama Blue Bloods. The actor has played the family patriarch since the first episode aired in 2010. The connection that Selleck has been able to make with his fans continues to be what draws viewers in week after week. The actor recently renewed his contract for one more year, so fans can continue to enjoy Regan family dinners for at least one more season. 

Prior to joining Blue Bloods, Selleck appeared on several procedural dramas. From 1980 to 1988, Selleck starred as Magnum in Magnum P.I. He has also had several stints on popular shows like The CloserLas Vegas, and Boston LegalFriends fans will remember Selleck as Monica Gellar’s long-time boyfriend Dr. Richard Burke. 

It’s hard to imagine anyone else playing Frank Reagan, but there’s one role that almost changed Selleck’s entire career trajectory. In the early ’80s, Selleck was one of the top candidates to play the leading role in Indiana Jones. However, the actor had just signed on with¬†Magnum P.I. and was unable to commit to the movie. The part ultimately went to Harrison Ford and Magnum became one of Selleck’s most famous roles. Still, you can’t help but wonder how different Indiana Jones and Selleck’s career would have been had he taken the role.¬†

What branch of the military did Tom Selleck serve in?

Many fans may not realize it, but the actor served in the U.S. military prior to making it big in Hollywood. After graduating from high school in 1962, Selleck attended community college. Going to a smaller school allowed him to afford his chosen school, USC, a few years later. It was at USC that an acting coach suggested that Selleck try acting. While at USC he appeared on The Dating Game and made an appearance in a Pepsi commercial. These two gigs led to the actor being signed by Fox.

Selleck was drafted to serve during the Vietnam War in 1967. He joined the California National Guard and served until 1973. After completing his orders, the actor appeared on several recruiting posters and public service announcements. He has always been a strong supporter of the troops and is a spokesperson for the Vietnam Veteran’s memorial fund. 

How has his service impacted him?

For Selleck, his time in the National Guard had a meaningful impact on his life, “I am a veteran, I’m proud of it. I was a sergeant in the U.S. Army infantry, National Guard, Vietnam era. We’re all brothers and sisters in that sense.” As a former member of the military, Selleck understands the sacrifices our military makes and how we must support them, no matter what side of the political fence we fall on. “We learned a lesson as a country over time, that we need to welcome our troops home regardless of whether you have political problems with whatever mission they’re on, they just served and we need to thank them for it.”