Why? This urban legend has been around since at least 2002, and while it contains some elements of truth, the gist of it—that Marvin and Keeshan … For many years, he was eligible for military service, since he was classified as a “1A.” However, during his final year of college, Rogers reported to the Armed Forces in order to complete his physical and his status was changed to “4F,” meaning that he was no longer qualified for military service. Mr. Rogers was a Sniper? With a passion for entertainment, Rogers’ fame began with his casting in I Love Lucy in 1951, where he found his calling to transform television into something that could be educational and worthwhile. Bettmann/Getty ImagesFred Rogers entertaining children. Rogers, by all accounts, seems like a very mild-mannered, Puritan-esque character…. However, this same military timeline and its correlation to Mr. Rogers’ life also proves that he wasn’t a military sniper either, as the U.S. did not send ground troops into Vietnam until 1995, making Rogers too old to enlist as a sniper. He was the creator, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001. A: The rumors that the late Fred Rogers served as a Navy SEAL or a U.S. Marine sniper are urban legends. “While there are rumors that Mr. Rogers, the host of internationally acclaimed TV show for children—Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, served as a Navy SEAL or a Marine Scout Sniper during the Vietnam era with a large number of confirmed kills, we have to state it is false. Simply part of a song called “Where Is Thumbkin?” that goes through every finger on your hand — including the middle one, “Mr. The stories below were shared with us and because these figures are well loved and part of American TV history, as well as our treasured childhood memories, we are quick to believe them. Surprisingly, … Fred Rogers was born in the small town of Latrobe, Pennsylvania on March 20, 1928. One other commonly searched connection between Mr. Rogers and the military is that he was possibly a sniper in the Marine Corps. Fred Rogers was born in 1928 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He started at NBC in New York City, and then moved back to Pennsylvania, then to Canada, and finally to Pittsburgh with the rights to his very own children’s show that would become the famed Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. For years, he was classified as “1A,” meaning he was available for military service. There were whispers on buses between children and in lines at supermarkets. Those medical records have long been destroyed, so we don’t know why he didn’t pass. High school yearbook photo of Fred Rogers. We are all told at some point that if “something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” But Mr. Rogers may be the only case that belies that adage. He didn’t serve in the military at all. CLICK HERE for the eRumor about Mr. Rogers. The completely unfounded tale circulated that a condition of his supposed sentence was that he performs on an educational television show as a community service obligation. In March, 2008, somebody combined the stories of Captain Kangaroo, Lee Marvin, and another about the popular children’s television personality Mr. Rogers into a single email—saying that all three of them were war heroes. A pinnacle of self-discipline, Mr. Rogers never smoked or drank. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood stayed on the air for 31 seasons, and Rogers advocated for children and their well-being — both onscreen and in testimonies to Congress — until his death from stomach cancer in 2003. No one who knew Rogers in real life has confirmed any military involvement on his part, and Rogers was a pacifist through and through. Television skyrocketed in popularity just as he was coming of age (I Love Lucy premiered in 1951, the same year he graduated from college), and he found his calling in transforming the medium into something educational and worthwhile. These tumors swirled even before internet memes or conspiracy-theory YouTube channels. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our lives, from which we make our choices, is very good stuff,” he told Dartmouth graduates in 2002. Mister Rogers … military sniper? Sending a mother or father of a young child off to war would be traumatic for that child, destroying the “essential bond” with their parents that’s so important for their emotional development. He was purposely choosing long-sleeve clothes to keep his formality as well as authority not only to children but to their parents as well. These tumors swirled even before internet memes or conspiracy-theory YouTube channels. YouTubePictured with young girl in the 1960s. “It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. Rogers, who was a Presbyterian minister, was known worldwide for his gentle and calm demeanor and his way with children. Dear Mike: You know, my first clue about this was the memorable episode where the Captain made Mister Moose get a buzzsaw haircut. “Urban legends sometimes distort the positive to create a sense of intrigue,” says Trevor J. Blank, assistant professor of communication at the State University of New York at Potsdam. The Navy SEALs were founded in 1962, the same year Rogers started Misterogers, the Canadian predecessor to his American television show. Today, his messages are just as powerful as people across the world protest racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody.. Two scenes in particular — one aired in 1969 and the other in 1993, according to NPR — … After learning about the truth behind the rumors of Mr. Rogers’ supposed career as a Navy SEAL and Vietnam sniper, read more about the real life and career of Mr. Rogers. Here, Mr. Rogers realized his dream of educating children and caring for their mental health. The email, suggesting Mr. Rogers had a background that his millions of adoring fans were unaware of, stated: “There was this wimpy little man (who just passed away) on PBS, gentle and quiet. But why did these rumors begin in the first place and accumulate such a strong public backing? Mr. Rogers is another of those you would least suspect of being anything but what he portrayed. Rogers was known for his trademark cardigan sweater and the show’s theme song, ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor.’ In addition, military involvement for Fred Rogers doesn’t have a place where it fits into the timeline of his life. The Facts: Firstly, Mr. Rogers was born in 1928 and thus at the time of the US involvement in the Vietnam conflict was too old to enlist in the US Navy. Mr. Rogers was truly the best kind of person there could be, and these legends ultimately are a reflection of society rather than the man at the center of them. “As you can see so clearly the abused grow up to be the abusers — sometimes on a worldwide scale.”. As far as war is concerned, Mr. Rogers likened it to a form of child abuse. Archives.govThe front page of Fred Rogers’ draft card. Updated May 24, 2019. Rogers died in 2003. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood ran on public television for 31 seasons. Often, positive public figures are distorted in order to create more intrigue. Rogers also called the space between the viewer and the television set "holy ground" and said the central message of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" -- that you are loved just the way you are -- … In addition to urban legends regarding military involvement, Mr. Rogers has also been accused of being a convicted child molester, flashing satanic devil horns during his children’s television program, and flipping off his audience; however, all of these rumors are easily explained and continue to be nothing more than urban legends. Also according to legend, he also has a tattoo for every confirmed kill— which is why he always wore long sleeves. Marvin was born in New York City. Rumors have been circulating for years that Fred Rogers served in the military and that he got some ink to commemorate his war record. From the above mentioned reasons, it is clear that Mr. Rogers could never have served in the military. The military itself has even rejected myth. The untrue rumors about Mr. Rogers’ tattoos, military service, and so on do not at all fit with the man’s gentle, fatherly personality (which is, of course, a big part of what makes the rumors so intriguing). And what details about Mr. Rogers’ life have proven that he was not involved in the military in any shape or form? Fotos International/Getty Images Rumors have long persisted that Fred Rogers, the host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, hid a secret military career. When a public figure is as squeaky-clean as Mr. Rogers, it leaves a void in which scandalous rumors can flourish. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat-proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. The only connection that has been found between Mr. Rogers and the military is when he registered for the draft in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 13, 1948, when he was 20 years old. (He was) a master in small arms and hand-to-hand combat, able to disarm or kill in a heartbeat. Posted 3/26/08 Related eRumors: Mr. Rogers Was a Sniper In Vietnam – Fiction! Paul Morse/George W. Bush Presidential Library/Wikimedia CommonsReceiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2002. “To raise a generation which is not abused (by war or any other means) should be our goal,” he wrote to a friend. You know, this would answer so many questions as to why Fred Rogers, host of the legendary Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, was the quiet, personable man we saw on television every day; deep down inside he was a skilled Marine sniper and he needed the calm persona to hide his honed killing skills. However, the same evidence of military events in comparison to that of Mr. Rogers’ life events shuts down this claim as well, ruling out any connection between Mr. Rogers and the Marine Corps, and ultimately any military involvement, period. Getty Fred Rogers (Mister Rogers) Fred and Joanne Rogers had two sons: James “Jim” Byrd Rogers and John Rogers. However, at the end of the day, Fred Rogers was nothing more than a Puritan-esque character who followed his passion for education and creating a peaceful society where children are taught to be good-hearted, morally conscious people. And he couldn’t have been a sniper in Vietnam, since U.S. didn’t send ground troops there until 1965, when he was too old to enlist. At 91, Joanne Rogers tends to the legacy of her late husband, known to generations as Mister Rogers. Receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom from George W. Bush in 2002. The Truth: Fred Rogers, the founder and host of the popular U.S. children’s television program Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood never served in the military. Making the most of a beautiful day with Mrs. Rogers. Furthermore, you cannot be a Navy SEAL if you fail the color blindness test, and Rogers was red-green colorblind. Mr. Rogers never served in the military and was a pacifist. Along the way, he attended seminary school part-time and became an ordained Presbyterian minister. “I don’t want to eat anything that has a mother,” he often said. But Mr. Rogers was a U.S. Navy Seal, combat proven in Vietnam with over twenty-five confirmed kills to his name. Mr. Rogers never served in the military,” the Navy SEALs wrote. Mr Rogers (Fred McFeeley Rogers) never served in the military. “Mr. Rogers' fictional tattoos almost always make an appearance. Contrary to internet lore, Mr. Rogers never actually served in the United States Armed Forces. THE TRUSTED RESOURCE FOR MILITARY FAMILIES. Beginning in the 1990s, an urban legend started up that Mr. Rogers (formally known as Fred McFeely Rogers) was a tattooed military sharpshooter. Also according to legend, he also has a tattoo for every confirmed kill — which is why he always wore long sleeves. Those periods of isolation helped foster his young imagination; he created puppets for company. (National Archives Identifier 7431400) According to urban legend, before Mr. Rogers was a TV host, he was as a sniper (or perhaps a Navy SEAL) during the Vietnam War, with a large number of confirmed kills. Despite the rumors, Rogers was never a sniper, Navy Seal, Green Beret, or Marine Corps drill instructor. Paul Morse/George W. Bush Presidential Library/Wikimedia Commons. The legends of his Call of Duty-worthy military service have been circulating for over a decade, sometimes bringing Captain Kangaroo into the mix in sort of a children's television Expendables mash up. 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