In his memoir, Garner claimed to have been the first Oklahoman drafted into the Korean War. Born James Bumgarner (he shortened his named when he began acting), the future star of “Maverick” and “The Rockford Files” served as a U.S. Army private in the 5th Regimental Combat Team, which sustained heavy casualties in Korea. On just his second day in Korea, Garner was hit with shrapnel from a mortar round while on patrol and sustained minor injuries to his hand and face. In April 1951, he was hospitalized after dislocating a shoulder, suffering phosphorous burns and being struck in the upper leg while diving into a foxhole. Garner, who received two Purple Hearts for his injuries, made his film debut in 1956 and starred in several war dramas including “The Great Escape.”
We honor you, James Garner.