60 Years Ago Today, Elvis Presley Completed His Military Service


You may know Elvis Presley as the King of Rock ‘n Roll, the genius behind timeless classics such as “All Shook Up,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and “Love Me Tender.” But in 1960, he was known to some as Sergeant Presley. 

Elvis Presley’s military registration certificate

Elvis Presley served in the U.S. military from 1958 to 1960. Today marks 60 years since his release from service. Using MyHeritage In Color™, we colorized a couple of photos of Elvis that were taken during his military service.

Elvis was a controversial figure when he rose to fame, as his signature dance moves were seen by the older generation as provocative. When Elvis joined the army at the height of his music career, the people who were scandalized by his dancing approved, thinking some military service would straighten him out a bit. Though he was offered the chance to enlist in Special Services as an entertainer with various privileges, he turned this down in favor of serving his country as a regular soldier, which earned him the respect of many who had previously seen him in a negative light.

Elvis being sworn into the army, 1958

After his basic training, Elvis was stationed in Germany, where he stayed for the duration of his military career. Some significant life events occurred during his service: his mother passed away, his father remarried, and he met Priscilla Beaulieu, whom he eventually married.

Elvis wiping down a sign in Germany
Elvis posing near a tank in Germany

Elvis was discharged from active duty on March 5, 1960, having reached the rank of sergeant.

In an interview after his release, Elvis said, “It’s been a big help both for my career and my personal life, because I learned a lot, I made a lot of friends that I never would have made otherwise, and I had a lot of good experiences… and some bad ones, actually. I think it’s good to rough it, to put yourself to the test.”

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  • Judy Omohundro

    June 10, 2020

    Love the colored versions of the photos.