Bill Cosby: An actor who served as a hospital corpsman

One of the most popular comic actors, Bill Cosby, is also a veteran. He was born William Henry Cosby Jr. on July 12, 1937, in

Eric Sof

Bill Cosby

One of the most popular comic actors, Bill Cosby, is also a veteran. He was born William Henry Cosby Jr. on July 12, 1937, in North Philadelphia. His military service started in 1956 when he enlisted in the United States Navy.

Early life

Before enlistment, in Cosby’s early childhood, his father was away in the U.S. armed forces, spending several years fighting in World War II. As a student, he described himself as a class clown. Cosby was the captain of both the baseball team and the track and field team at Mary Channing Wister Public School in Philadelphia and the class president.

Military service

Bill Cosby trained as a hospital corpsman and served aboard ships and at the Marine base at Quantico, Virginia, shortly before being sent to Bethesda Naval Hospital. There he was assigned to work with Korean War casualties and veterans.

Cosby won awards running on the Navy track team and experienced racial discrimination, being forced to eat in the kitchen of cafes where the team stopped eating while on the road. He was honorably discharged after four years of service in 1960.

Bill Cosby Military Service US Navy
Bill Cosby’s military service: He was a famous actor and a veteran who served as a hospital corpsman (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Post-military life

He went on to Temple University on the GI Bill. He later received an M.A and Ed.D. (Education) in Massachusetts. He has contributed generously to educational institutions in recent years, including Atlanta’s Spelman College.

Cosby is one of the most recognized and successful entertainers in the world of show business. He has recorded numerous comedy records and starred in the Cosby Show, one of the most popular sitcoms of the eighties. Bill Cosby is also the author of several books, including three “Little Bill” children’s books. He is on the list of famous veterans who served in the U.S. military.


In 2011, Bill Cosby was presented with the honorary title of Chief Petty Officer. Still, that title was revoked later by Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Michael Stevens. The Navy withdrew his title because allegations against Bill Cosby were severe and conflicted with the Navy’s core values of honor, courage, and commitment, officials said.

Bill Cosby Military Service: Honorary title revoked in 2014
Navy Revokes Bill Cosby’s Honorary Title Amid Sex Assault Claims in the 2014 (Photo: U.S. Navy)

Eric Sof

Eric Sof holds a master's degree in Political Science, specializing in International Peacekeeping Studies. He has over a decade of experience as a former member of an elite counterterrorism unit. Additionally, he is a firearms instructor and currently serves as a member of the SWAT unit.


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1 thought on “Bill Cosby: An actor who served as a hospital corpsman”

  1. Recently because of Bill Cosby’s acquittal by the Pennsylvania supreme court, his attorney has been spreading a vicious lie about Mr Cosby being some kind of combat veteran by saying of Cosby’s adjustment to nobody having visited him while he was in prison, not even his wife…

    “He was allowed [visitors] but Mr. Cosby did 4 years in the navy. He said, ‘Andrew when you go off to war, they don’t fly your families in to visit with you because it takes away your mental toughness and your ability to fight and survive whatever you’re going through.’

    To even use wartime veteran status with a guy who bopped around to different stateside hospitals and ran on the track team is yet another insult…

    Cosby may have been a fine medic in the Navy but he is no combat veteran so nobody should be using these two words in the same sentence.

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