Which President has the most impressive military record?

Which president has the most impressive military record?

  • George H Bush

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • Gerald Ford

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • JFK

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Ike

    Votes: 8 15.1%
  • Truman

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • Grant

    Votes: 22 41.5%
  • Jackson

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Washington

    Votes: 18 34.0%
  • Teddy Roosevelt

    Votes: 1 1.9%
  • Other?

    Votes: 2 3.8%

  • Total voters


Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
Doesn't seem to matter so much these days but used to matter a lot.

George H Bush served as a US Navy bomber pilot in WW2 and was shot down whilst attacking Wake Island.

Ronald Reagan was an Army reserve officer in WW2 but had a non-combat role due to 'poor eyesight' and stayed in the US working with a film unit.

Carter, Nixon and Johnson were all navy men but saw little or no combat. Ford by contrast served on the carrier Monterey and saw plenty of action, notably in the Battle of the Philippine Sea. JFK famously made his great swim to find help to rescue his shipwrecked crew but arguably it was his fault they were sunk in the first place.

Ike was a great supreme commander but never actually saw combat spending WW1 as a training officer (Omar Bradley was in the same boat and supposedly carried a rifle in his staff car with which to take pot-shots at enemy aircraft). Truman by contrast was an artillery officer in WW1.

Teddy Roosevelt formed his own volunteer regiment for the Spanish-American war and led the charge of the 'Rough Riders' during that conflict.

Grant was a terrific General in the ACW, much better than he was a president, the same could be said of Andrew Jackson from the war of 1812 and WOI. And of course, George Washington who perhaps embodies the roles of soldier, statesman and politician better than anyone else.

So who do you think is most impressive?
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Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
Grant probably has the best record. Jackson was an effective general, but did some questionable things. Washington was a great leader, but as a officer had a mixed record in both the the French and Indian and Revolutionary Wars. Eisenhower ran the western European front from London, but was never in combat or led forces in combat.

JFK's PT boat was cut in half by a destroyer. Bush's plane was shot down, and he survived but not his two crew members. I am not sure any who served as junior officers had a really impressive record.
Sep 2012
Tarkington, Texas
I consider Washington noses out Grant. Washington did not have a powerful political infrastructure behind him as Grant did. He also did more with less. Washington did more as a President as well.



Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
I voted Grant but it is a bit of a toss up for me between him and Theodore Roosevelt.

Grant is far and away the greatest general in American military history. Washington may have faced more challenges but he was not nearly as successful as Grant in the field. Grant won the single most decisive battle of his war (Vicksburg) while the most decisive battle of the American Revolution (Saratoga) was won by several men, none Washington, who was elsewhere. Grant also bagged three armies in his career while Washington bagged two, and one of the latter was a victory that was shared in large measure with the French.

Roosevelt is the only president that is a Medal of Honor recipient.

David Vagamundo

Ad Honorem
Jan 2010
Atlanta, Georgia USA
Almost impossible to choose among Washington, Grant and Eisenhower, IMO. So I didn't vote.

I probably would say Grant, but a very good case could be made for any of the three.


Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
The Republican post Civil War Presidents, Hays, Garfield, and Harrison were all Civil War generals, but I don't think any of them did anything spectacular.