Both on-screen and off, John Wayne loved honoring American troops through his unique platform as one of America's most iconic actors. In the latest edition of the John Wayne Official Collector's Edition, Ethan Wayne describes his father's dedication to supporting the military in the story "Give Back to Those Who Serve." Read an excerpt from the upcoming Volume 28, Duke's Code for Life—out April 2:
As Duke's youngest son Ethan remembers, it was impossible for the star to be inconvenienced when it came to the troops. "One night when I was around 10, we heard a noise down by the dock next to our house and Dad went down there with his gun to check it out. It ended up being some soldiers who had just returned from overseas," Ethan says, explaining that the men were huge fans who had spontaneously made the trip to Duke's home. "Dad told them, 'Come up here and have a drink with me,' and they talked for about a half hour before Dad sent them on their way."
Stories like this remind us why Duke is still remembered as a paragon of American patriotism. Keep scrolling for 10 great photos of Duke supporting the troops.
1. Sporting a rugged beard for a promotional portrait for the 1945's Back to Bataan.
2. Posing with U.S. troops stationed in Vietnam in 1966.
3. Receiving an award from the Dallas Marines for his "many years of helping us tell the Marine Corps story."
4. Shaking hands with a service member while visiting the troops in Vietnam in 1966.
5. Dodging out of harm's way in the 1945 film Back to Bataan.
6. Ready to lead the charge in Sands of Iwo Jima, c. 1949.
7. Laughing with our men in uniform during his Vietnam visit in 1966.
8. Bringing the heroic true story of John D. Bulkeley and Robert Kelly to life in They Were Expendable in 1945.
9. Rallying his squad in Sands of Iwo Jima in 1949.
10. Arriving in Vietnam to support the troops, c. 1966.