15 Fortune 500 CEOs who got their start in the military

Few institutions teach discipline, management, logistics, and efficiency like the US Armed Forces, so it’s no surprise that Ranker’s list of Fortune 500 CEOs finds many military veterans.

Below are some of the most accomplished military vets who went on to lead Fortune 500 companies.

Proctor and Gamble: Robert A. McDonald

The Christian Science Monitor

Robert A. McDonald wanted to be in the Army so bad that he wrote his congressman for an special exemption at just 11 years old. Eventually, he came of age and got his wish, serving in the 82nd Airborne Division and retiring with the rank of Captain.

He is a former CEO of Proctor and Gamble, and the current secretary of Veterans Affairs in the Obama Administration, where he works to improve veteran's access to healthcare.

Source: Ranker

Casey's General Store: Robert Myers

Casey's General Store via Youtube
Robert Myers before taking the ice bucket challenge.

Robert Myers spent 22 years in the US Army, serving in Germany, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait and finally retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1988.

After retiring, began working at Casey's General as a manager. Within a few years he worked his way up to the top of the corporation, which owns hundreds of stores across America, many of which are situated in small towns with populations of 5,000 or less.

Source: Fortune, Casey's General Store

FootLocker: Ken Hicks


Ken Hicks is the former CEO and president of the sneaker chain FootLocker, and he has also held high level executive positions at JC Penny and Payless Shoes.

Like his father before him, a World War II veteran, Hicks served in the military as an artillery battery commander in the Korean war.

Source: Ranker

Kinder Morgan: Richard Kinder

AP Images

Richard Kinder is executive chairman of Kinder Morgan, Inc., one of the largest energy companies in North America, worth approximately $US115 billion.

Before he became a big player in the energy sector, with stints at giant corporations like Enron, he was a Captain in the US Army, and he served in Vietnam.

Source: Ranker, Chron

Lumetra: Tom Dent


Tom Dent is the former CEO of a management and logistics firm called Lumetra, but before that, he was a decorated fighter pilot in the US Navy.

Dent served three tours of duty, where he learned a great deal about leadership. He still has his 1960's copy of Small Unit Leadership: A Commonsense Approach in his office.

Source: Ranker, USA Today

Rockwell Collins: Clayton M. Jones

Jones is the former CEO of the aeronautics firm Rockwell Collins, where he was served by his experience as a fighter pilot with the US Air Force.

Upon leaving Rockwell Collins in 2013, he was praised for his strong leadership.

Source: Ranker

Lockheed Martin: Robert J. Stevens


Robert Stevens was the CEO of Lockheed Martin from 2004 until 2012. He now serves as the Lead Director for Monsanto.

Unlike other members of this list, Robert Stevens joined the US Marines straight out of high school at the age of 18. He became a highly decorated serviceman, receiving several awards including the Globe and Anchor Award from the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the Congressional Medal of Honour Foundation's Circle of Honour Award, and the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation's Semper Fidelis Award.

Source: Ranker

ConocoPhillips: James Mulva


James Mulva recently stepped down as CEO of the energy giant, ConocoPhillips, which he had led since 2002.

Mulva attended college in an ROTC program, before being stationed by the US Navy in Bahrain. While in the Middle East, he learned about the energy industry, and its geopolitical implications first hand.

Source: Ranker

FedEx: Frederick W. Smith

DePaul Law

Frederick Smith began his life as the son of a prominent businessman, but with a condition that left him confined to crutches until the age of 10. He outgrew his ailment, went on to play sports in high school, and ultimately to be the CEO of FedEx.

Smith then went on to serve with the US Marines in Vietnam in two tours of duty, one as a an infantryman, and another as a pilot. He received various medals for his service, and would eventually be hailed as 'The Father of overnight delivery.'

Source: Ranker, USNews

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