March 24, 1958 — Elvis Presley is inducted into the United States Army, fulfilling his obligation to the draft requirements of the U.S. He received a physical, and back in those days soldiers were also given a serial number upon entry to the service; his was 53310761. He would ship off to Fort Chaffee for initial enrollment, and then would head to Fort Hood for basic training. He was 23 years old.
Most veteran celebrities find their fame after their military service, but Elvis Presley was not one such case. He was already world-famous when he joined the military; he was in the middle of pioneering rock and roll with his Rockabilly style music.
Presley’s manager, Tom Parker, was a shining example for future managers that seek to control almost every facet of their talent’s life. In this case, Parker had managed to get Presley out of his service since Presley became eligible at 18 years old. However, the time eventually came and there was nothing they could do about it. Still, Parker worked with leadership in the military to offer Presley multiple options that would essentially get him an easy ride through his required two years, so he could quickly get out and return to the entertainment industry. Presley declined these offers, and instead sought to serve as an ordinary soldier.