As Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the President of the United States has absolute control over the military.
Because of that, many citizens believe that Presidents should have some experience with the military.
Not all presidents served in the military.
As the 46th president of the United States, you may wonder whether Joe Biden served in the military or not.
Did Joe Biden Serve In The Military? (Everything To Know)
No, Joe Biden did not serve in the military.
He had five opportunities to serve due to the draft.
However, he was able to receive student deferments for most of those drafts.
He was a student at the University of Delaware and Syracuse University where he studied law during the time.
He also received a 1-Y status during a medical test to determine his eligibility for service.
It kept him from serving because he had received a diagnosis of asthma as a teenager.
The 1-Y classification is no longer in use.
They abolished it in 1971.
Joe Biden’s military experience comes solely from his experience as Vice President under President Barack Obama.
Did Any Of Joe Biden’s Kids Serve In The Military?
Two of Joe Biden’s kids served in the military.
Beau Biden was the first to serve in the military.
He joined the service in 2003 and served in the JAG Corps.
During his service with the corps, he rose to the rank of Major in the Army.
Beau served in Iraq for a year from 2008 to 2009.
He won a Bronze Star Medal during his service.
Unfortunately, Beau died of brain cancer on May 30th, 2015.
He was 46 years old.
Joe Biden’s other son, Hunter Biden, also served in the military.
He was part of the US Naval Reserve.
However, he received a discharge after he tested positive for having cocaine in his system.
He left the military in 2014.
How Many Presidents Served In The Military?
Several presidents have served in the military.
Here are the presidents who served in the military.
The very first president started his career as the Commander of the American army during the American Revolution.
After the war finished, he became the first president of the Continental States.
Another veteran of the Revolutionary War is Thomas Jefferson.
He served as a colonel in the Virginia militia.
Although he didn’t serve in the scripted army because of his poor health, he did serve in the Virginia militia.
He served as a leader.
Monroe took part in the Battle of Trenton during the American Revolution and nearly lost his life.
He served as a major in the war.
He would later achieve the rank of Captain and then Lieutenant Colonel.
A Major General in the US Army during the American Revolution, Jackson was also the General of the Tennessee militia.
He’d go on to become a Major General in the War of 1812.
William Henry Harrison
During the War of 1812, he served as a Major General for the Kentucky militia.
Although he didn’t get to fight with the Continental Army, John Tyler decided to make his own Virginia militia.
He named it the Charles City Rifles and became its captain.
James K. Polk
Polk served in the Tennessee militia as a colonel.
He would become the Commander-in-Chief during the Mexican-American war.
Taylor has extensive military service.
He fought in the Blackhawk War, the War of 1812, and the Second Seminole War.
He’d rise to the ranks of Major General during the Mexican-American war.
After his military service, he became president.
Although he didn’t have military service before he was president, Fillmore would later serve as a Major in the Union Continentals.
The Union Continentals are a home guard of adult males.
Pierce received his military experience during the Mexican-American War.
He’d go on to become a Brigadier General.
Buchanan’s first military service was in the War of 1812.
In 1814, the British attempted to invade Maryland.
Buchanan served as a private in the Pennsylvania militia.
Many know Abraham Lincoln as the Commander-in-Chief during the American Civil War.
Before then, he had served as a militia captain in the Illinois militia in 1832.
He took part in the Blackhawk War.
Lincoln promoted Johnson as a military governor in Tennessee in 1862.
He’d go on to become a Brigadier General until 1865.
Ulysses S. Grant
Grant’s first military experience was in the Mexican-American war.
He’d go on to be a Major General during the Civil War.
Rutherford B. Hayes
Hayes also had experience fighting in the Civil War.
He rose to the rank of Major General.
James A. Garfield
Garfield became a lieutenant colonel in the Civil War.
He’d rise to the rank of Major General and became the youngest officer to achieve the rank at the time.
Chester A. Arthur
Arthur has some military experience although he never saw battle.
He had family in the confederacy which kept him from participating in battle.
Despite not serving in battle, he’d rise to Brigadier General.
Harrison also served during the Civil War.
He played a vital part in recruiting army volunteers in Indiana.
McKinley served in the Civil War until its end in 1865.
He’d rise to the rank of Brevet Major.
One of the most experienced men in war was Theodore Roosevelt.
Age and health kept him out of joining typical military service.
He’d go on to form his own military unit to serve in the Spanish-American War.
That unit became known as the Rough Riders.
Within those ranks, he’d rise to Colonel.
He took part in several battles.
Roosevelt received the Medal of Honor posthumously.
Harry S. Truman
Truman was eager to join the war effort.
He served the army from 1919 until 1945.
At first, he was unable to join the army because he had poor eyesight.
Truman got past the army doctors by memorizing the eye chart.
He’d go on to become the Captain of Battery D in France.
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Eisenhower has experience spanning both World Wars.
He’d play a vital role in World War 2.
He became a 5-Star General in 1944, one of the rarest ranks for an individual to achieve.
John F. Kennedy
Before his assassination, Kennedy served in the military.
He joined the US Navy and became a hero to a group of survivors.
The survivors had lived through an attack from a Japanese warship.
Without a ship of their own, they were unable to reach safety.
Kennedy brought them to a nearby island where rescue waited for them.
He’d receive the Purple Heart and Marine Corps Medal for his heroic act and service.
Lyndon B. Johnson
Johnson also served in the Navy.
After the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, he became the commander of the port.
Richard M. Nixon
As a Quaker, Nixon was eligible for exemption from military service.
He decided to join the US Naval Reserve anyway.
He’d go on to see active duty in the South Pacific.
Gerald R. Ford, Jr.
Another president who joined the Navy was Ford.
He’d climb to the rank of Lieutenant Commander before his tour of duty finished.
Carter was another president who was eager to join the military before he became president.
He joined the US Navy during World War 2 and became part of the submarine service.
Through his tour, he’d climb to the rank of Lieutenant.
Although Reagan joined the war in 1942 and served until 1945, he did mostly promotional work for the army.
He was responsible for filming promotional films, recruiting films, and other inspirational films.
George H. W. Bush
Bush Sr. joined the Navy and flew 58 combat missions as a pilot.
One of those combat missions included an intense battle with the Japanese.
Bush ended up going down under fire over the Pacific Ocean.
He was later rescued and returned to base.
George W. Bush
A few critics of Bush believe that he didn’t actually gain any military experience compared to others.
However, Bush joined the Texas Air National Guard during the war in Vietnam.
Some believe that his status as George H. W. Bush’s son kept him from fighting in Vietnam with other soldiers.
Do Presidents Need Military Experience To Become Elected?
It is not a legal requirement that a president must have military experience to become elected.
However, some citizens believe that having military experience is crucial for a president.
This is especially true when the country is fighting a war overseas.
The experience can help them serve as better Commanders-in-Chief.
Others believe that a president doesn’t need military experience because they’re surrounded by experts in military warfare.
Any lack of knowledge they have comes from their advisors instead.
Can Anyone Become Exempt From The Military?
To be fit for military service, you first need to be of age.
Military law in the United States requires you to be at least 17 years of age to enlist in the service.
You must also pass a series of health tests.
That’s because the military can’t rely on individuals who are going to be liabilities in the field.
They don’t have the resources, manpower, or time to babysit soldiers in poor health.
Besides health, you can also claim religious or spiritual reasons for an exemption from war.
Since many religions prohibit killing, the government can’t force you to be a combatant.
However, you can join the war in a non-combatant position.
What Are The Various Classifications To Determine Fitness For Service?
These are the various classifications that the military uses to determine whether an individual is fit for military service or not.
The 1-A classification indicates that the individual is fit for military service.
The 1-AM classification indicates that the individual is a medical specialist.
They’re also fit for service, albeit in a medical capacity in the field.
Those who object to the war but are still found medically fit receive the 1-A-O classification.
These individuals will join the war, but they won’t be combatants.
They’ll serve in non-combatant positions.
They may work in the galley, as cleaning crew, assistants, clerks, or other jobs.
The 1-A-OM classification indicates that the individual is a conscientious objector.
They also are a medical specialist.
They won’t operate in the field.
They’ll be off the field and work as a medical specialist elsewhere.
If an individual receives the 1-C classification, then it means they’re a Member of the Armed Forces of the United States, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, or the Public Health service.
Those who receive the 1-D classification are part of the Member of Reserve component or are a student taking military training.
The 1-H classification means that the individual is a registrant who isn’t subject to processing for induction or alternative service.
A 1-O classification means that the individual is a conscientious objector that’s available for civilian work.
The work contributes to the national health, safety, or interest of the military.
This classification is for those who are medical conscientious objectors.
They’re available for civilian work that also contributes to the health, safety, or interest of the military.
If you receive the 1-S classification, then it means that you have a student deferment.
That includes both high school and college students.
Joe Biden received 1-S for several of his deferments while he was studying law at Harvard.
This classification also stands for a conscientious objector who can perform civilian work for the health, safety, or interest of the military.
Those who receive a 1-Y classification are only allowed to enter the war when there is a national emergency for soldiers.
Otherwise, they do not serve.
Certain professions allow you to be exempt from the draft or military service.
Agricultural careers are not one of them.
If your profession qualifies, then you receive the 2-A classification.
If there’s a health crisis going on in a local community or a local community only has one or two medical professionals, then an individual may receive the 2-A-M classification.
This classification means that the individual is a medical specialist who has a deferment due to critical community care that involves patient care.
They are too important to their local community to serve in the war.
Certain agricultural professions can also receive a deferment.
Those individuals receive the 2-C classification instead of the 2-A classification.
Because soldiers will need food while they’re overseas, agricultural workers need to work the fields.
Pastors and other ministers can receive the 2-D classification.
It’s reserved for ministerial students.
These are individuals who are attending a religious school for ministerial service.
Medical students or those who are part of a medical study receive the 2-M classification.
Students may also receive the 2-S classification.
It defers military service because they’re students.
Certain individuals who are the sole source of income or security for their family may receive the 3-A classification.
It covers those who, if they left for military service, would cause hardship upon their family.
Another special classification is the 4-A classification.
This indicates that the individual has already served in the military.
It also indicates an individual who is the last surviving son of the family.
The others perished in the war.
An official can receive a deferment with the 4-B classification.
In some cases, someone who is an immigrant or has a dual nationality may receive the 4-C classification.
This defers aliens and those with dual nationalities.
Those who completed their studies in religion and are official ministers can receive the 4-D deferment.
If an individual is a minister of religion, then they are exempt from military service.
If someone objects to the war entirely and refuses to be either a combatant or noncombatant, then they have a 4-E deferment.
They don’t receive either combat or noncombatant training or service.
A catch-all deferment is 4-F.
It’s given to a registrant who isn’t qualified for military service.
A medical specialist who isn’t qualified for military service receives this classification.
A surviving son may receive this classification.
It’s specific to an individual whose brothers or family died during military service or have an MIA status.
They are exempt from service during peacetime.
Another classification for a conscientious object is the 4-W deferment.
It’s given to those who completed civilian alternate service.
The final classification is 5-A and covers those who are over the age of military service.
It’s a registrant who is over the age of liability.
Joe Biden did not serve in the military, although some of his sons did.
Several presidents in the past have some experience in the military.
That said, it isn’t a requirement for a candidate seeking the presidency.