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Don Knotts joined the U.S. Army at age 19 and went on active duty on June 21, 1943. He served for the duration of Wolrd War II and was discharged on January 6, 1946 with the rank of Technician Grade 5, which was the equivalent of a Corporal. He was awarded the WWII Victory Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal (with 4 bronze service stars), Army Good Conduct Medal, Marksman Badge (with Carbine Bar) and Honorable Service Lapel Pin.

During twenty-seven months in action in the European Theatre he received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. military's highest award for valor, along with 32 additional U.S. and foreign awards (medals, ribbons, citations, badges...) including five awards from France and one from Belgium. He is the most decorated soldier of WWII. The movie "To Hell and Back (1955)" is based on his experience during the conflict. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Actor Russell Johnson, best known as "The Professor" on Gilligan's Island, served in the US Army Air Force during WWII. He flew 44 combat missions as a bombardier in B-25 bombers. In March 1945, he and two other B-25s were shot down in the Philippines. He broke both his ankles and the radioman next to him was killed. Johnson earned a Purple Heart, among other honors. He was honorably discharged and later served in the Army Reserve. He used his GI Bill to fund his acting lessons.