Over half of all United States presidents served in the armed forces in some capacity. Some presidents served in the military during war time but saw no action, so it is unclear exactly how many presidents can really be considered war veterans. There are 24 presidents who are confirmed to have served in combat, and six presidents were in the military but saw no action. There are 12 US presidents who have no military experience at all.
An example of a president who was in the military but saw no action was George W. Bush. He was a member of the Air National Guard during the Vietnam War but did not fight in combat. He spent much of his tenure in Houston, Texas, and therefore it is debatable whether he can be considered a war veteran. Other presidents who are not considered war veterans, though they did serve in the military, include James Madison, James Polk, Millard Filmore, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan. Reagan was kept from service because of his poor eyesight.
While Abraham Lincoln is one president who makes the list, his service in the militia during the Black Hawk War was unremarkable and insubstantial. Seven United States presidents served during the Civil War, which was overseen by President Lincoln. Theodore Roosevelt gained fame for his role in the Spanish-American War. No president other than Harry Truman served in combat during World War I; although Dwight Eisenhower was in the Army at the time, he was never posted outside the US. There are six US presidents who are war veterans of World War II: Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush.
Five US presidents are veterans of the War of 1812: Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and James Buchanan. Four US presidents served in more than one war: Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, and Ulysses S. Grant. Three presidents served in the American Revolution: Andrew Jackson, James Monroe, and George Washington, who was the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.