Our famous veteran, Johnny Cash is the legendary country performer is known as the “Man in Black,” but he was also a man in Air Force blues.

Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash

“That was the big thing when I was growing up, singing on the radio. The extent of my dream was to sing on the radio station in Memphis. Even when I got out of the Air Force in 1954, I came right back to Memphis and started knocking on doors at the radio station.”

Johnny Cash, the legendary country performer is known as the “Man in Black,” but he was also a man in Air Force blues. Fresh out of high school in 1950, Cash joined the Air Force as the Korean War began, and spent most of his four-year enlistment in Germany. Perhaps not surprisingly for a man with music in his veins, Cash was handy when it came to the rhythms of Morse code, and served as an intercept operator with the USAF Security Service.

It could be argued that if weren’t for the military, we might never have known who Johnny Cash was — coming from a poor background, he was only able to scrounge enough money together to buy a guitar once he started receiving military pay. He purchased his first guitar at the Base Exchange while stationed in Germany, and the rest is history, as they say. He also formed his first band while in the Air Force (the Landsberg Barbarians) and upon his discharge he used his GI Bill benefits to attend a radio-announcing course at a broadcasting school in Memphis.

Although Cash’s reputation as an outspoken, hard-living rebel has overshadowed his time in service, he never forgot about where he came from, and years later, he met a young Army captain named Kris Kristofferson, who he helped become a country superstar in his own right.

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