Only President in US history who was once an NCO

My Brigade CSM (and board president), at the BDE NCOQ board, asked me, "Who was the only President in US History who was once an NCO?" I didn't know the answer. Fortunately, neither did the other contenders.

I'm going to eventually go to the NCOY board, and will have the same CSM sitting in the same seat, probably asking the same (or similar) questions. I've tried doing open source research, but most of what I find on former presidents has more to do with what they did while in office.

Anyone know the answer to this question? Any history buffs out there?
Original Post
quote:
Originally posted by cappydagreat:
James Buchanan was the only president to serve enlisted


Actually, President Franklin Pierce was enlisted, then made his way to Brigadier General. I looked at a few sites about him, but I couldn't find anything on specific ranks along the way. He would be my first guess.
Although I can see your reasoning in your answer, the only thing I've found detailing any of his military experience says:

quote:
Aware of the positive effect of military service on his father's political success, Franklin Pierce saw an opportunity in the Mexican-American War. He helped enlist men into the New Hampshire Volunteers and was himself a private. Using his connections, he appealed to President James Polk for a commission. The President repaid Pierce's old campaign favors. By the time the force sailed for the Mexican shores of Veracruz in mid-1847, Pierce was a brigadier general commanding over two thousand men, though he had no military experience whatsoever.


It goes on to tell about battles in Mexico, his fall from his horse that crushed his leg, causing him to pass out from the pain, and soldiers who (perhaps resentful of a purely political general) referred to him behind his back as "Fainting Frank". The wording in the paragraph I quoted, however, indicates he received his commission as a private, although I could be wrong.

I've done a lot of research on this, and I'm starting to think it was a BS question, the answer to it being "No former US president was ever an NCO, although President Buchanan was enlisted, and President Pierce began enlisted and was commissioned."
Also found this:

quote:
When the Mexican War broke out in 1846, Pierce enlisted as a private in the Concord Light Infantry. He was soon appointed a colonel and then a brigadier general of volunteers. In June 1847, he arrived in Mexico and led his 2,500 troops inland. At the battle of Churubusco, Pierce suffered a painful leg injury when his horse reared and fell. The next day, while again advancing into battle, he wrenched the injured leg so sharply that he fainted from the pain and was unable to take an active part in the fighting. In later years his political enemies twisted the facts about this incident and charged that he had been cowardly under fire. Pierce remained in the field until the capture of Mexico City, in September 1847, and then returned to his law practice in Concord.


So, I'm thinking Private - Colonel - BG might be the only ranks he ever held.
William McKinley, Jr.

In June 1861, at the start of the American Civil War, he enlisted in the Union Army, as a private in the Twenty-third Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry.The regiment was sent to western Virginia where it spent a year fighting small Confederate units. His superior officer, another future U.S. President, Rutherford B. Hayes, promoted McKinley to commissary sergeant for his bravery in battle.

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