Elvis In The Army

Can't Help Falling in Line: Elvis in the U.S. Army

When Uncle Sam called, "the King" answered.

By the early spring of 1958, Elvis Presley was a pop sensation. Less than two years after his infamous, wildly gyrating appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, the 23-year-old rock 'n' roller had four #1 albums to his name, and he'd just wrapped his fourth motion picture, "King Creole," in New Orleans. Cameras followed him everywhere, and in late March, they followed him to Memphis, Tennessee for his induction into the U.S. Army.

Reporting for Duty Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images Reporting for Duty After receiving a deferment to finish filming "King Creole," Elvis arrived at the Memphis induction station on March 24, 1958. Mess Dress Michael Ochs Archives Mess Dress Elvis tucks into a government-issued sandwich, very likely his first Army meal. No word on what he thought of the rations. Marching Orders Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images Marching Orders Elvis and his fellow inductees make their way to the Kennedy Veterans Hospital in Memphis for their physical examinations. Squat Formation Don Cravens Squat Formation Apparently, this was part of the physical. Flattop Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images Flattop Army barber James Peterson had the responsibility of buzzing Elvis' cherished coiffure. Shot in the Arm Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images Shot in the Arm Elvis was no stranger to shots, having publicly received a polio vaccination as part of a national campaign against that disease in 1956. You'll pardon him, though, if he doesn't watch. All Shook Up Alfred Wertheimer/Getty Images All Shook Up After basic training, it was time for Elvis to ship out. Distraught fans gathered at the Brooklyn Army Terminal on September 22, 1958 to catch a parting glimpse of their idol.

Elvis would be stationed with a tank unit in Germany until early 1960, when he made his much-anticipated return to the United States.