Finding out your favorite actor used to serve in the military is exciting. But what about the characters themselves? Who has served and when? Here are nine TV characters that are military veterans.
1. Leroy Jethro Gibbs
L.J. Gibbs is played by Mark Harmon on the show NCIS. The character is a former US Marine Corps scout sniper who is now a special agent commanding a team for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in Quantico. His father helped influence his decision to join the Marines as he was a World War II vet. Gibbs joined the Marine Corps in 1976 at age 18. He was a military police NCO at Camp Lejeune before he became a scout sniper. He served on tours of duty in Panama and the Persian Gulf and retired from the military in 1991.
2. David Stephen Rossi
Rossi, played by Joe Mantegna, is a supervisory special agent in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit on the show Criminal Minds. From Long Island, NY, Rossi enlisted in the Marine Corps and served in Vietnam. He rose to the rank of Sergeant Major. He also appears to have served in the Marine Corps Reserves after he joined the FBI. In season eight, Rossi encounters his old unit commander, Sergeant Harrison Scott who is now a homeless alcoholic living on the streets of Santa Monica. It is implied that they both served in the 1st Marine Division together.
3. Jay Pritchett
Jay Pritchett, played by Ed O’Neill, is one of the family members of the hit show, Modern Family. He can be tough but decent and clearly loves his family. Before he turned 18, he used a fake ID to enlist in the Army but was not successful. Once he turned 18, he served in the Vietnam War and had Navy training in Pensacola, Florida.
4. Owen Hunt
Played by Kevin McKidd, Owen Hunt is one of the doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital in Grey’s Anatomy. He was an Army trauma surgeon who served in Iraq. He joined the hospital to teach medicine as a surgical attending, later became head of trauma surgery and then, chief of surgery. He brings his military past with him to the hospital and has a lot of challenges to work through because of his experiences.
5. Seeley Joseph Booth
Booth, an FBI supervisory special agent for the homicide division, is played by David Boreanaz on the show Bones. The character was raised in Pittsburgh and after losing an athletic scholarship, enlisted in the Army. He was a third generation military service member. He served in the 90s as a sniper in the 101st Airborne Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, and special forces. He separated from the military as a Master Sergeant after receiving various awards including the Purple Heart. He also went back to active duty to train Afghan soldiers in Afghanistan between seasons five and six.
6. Jay Halstead
Detective Jay Halstead, played by Jesse Lee Soffer, is a member of Sergent Hank Voight’s CPD Intelligence Unit On Chicago P.D. He is a skilled marksman and Army veteran who served in Afghanistan with the 75th Ranger Regiment deployed to the Korangal Valley. His military service made an impact on him and he had difficulty adjusting to civilian life. He also may have deal with some PTSD.
7. Leo McGarry
Leo McGarry, played by John Spencer is the White House Chief of Staff and President Josiah Bartlet’s best friend on The West Wing. He is from Chicago, served in the Air Force, and flew an F-105 Thunderchief with the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing out of Takhli Royal Thai Air Force base during the Vietnam War. He was also wounded when he was shot down near Hanoi and was carried through the jungle for three days by his friend.
8. Danny Reagon
Danny, played by Donnie Wahlberg, is the oldest son of Frank Reagon, the patriarch of the multi-generational family of cops on Blue Bloods. At the start of season one, he had been on the New York police department for 15 years. He took a leave of absence to serve two tours in Iraq as a Marine. He saw combat in Fallujah and was the only member of his platoon to come back home.
9. Jacqueline “Jackie” Sharp
Sharp is played by Molly Parker, and is a Democratic congresswoman from California on the show House of Cards. She is a military veteran and was tapped by Underwood to succeed him as Majority Whip. She has been to war and her past has come up during the show.