Wicked Son

Shield of David: A History of Jewish Servicemen in America’s Armed Forces


Since Revolutionary times, Jews have served in the United States armed forces and fought bravely in America’s wars.

Jews first arrived in the New World in 1654, seeking religious freedom. Since the beginning of American nationhood, Jewish volunteers and conscripts fought in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, on both sides of the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, in both World Wars, and in the Korean, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Over the years, the American military learned to integrate its Jewish servicemen and women by providing Jewish military chaplains, kosher food, religious services, and placing the Star of David on the graves of fallen Jewish soldiers.

The end of conscription and the establishment of the All-Volunteer Force in 1973 offered other paths to serve our country. American Jews have contributed with distinction in the arts and sciences, academia, entertainment, government, and in building the economy. For Jews, America is the Goldene Medina–the Golden Country.