A recent tweet showcases how seriously some people take the subject of Donald Duck’s military service. The beloved Disney icon, who can currently be seen as part of the cast of the DuckTales revamp, has a surprisingly long record of serving the United States as both a member of its army and navy. Astonishingly, that record does not exist entirely within the realm of fiction.
Originally introduced in a 1934 animated adaptation of the classic children’s story The Wise Little Hen, Donald Duck found his niche as a comic foil to Mickey Mouse in his second animated appearance, in the short Orphan’s Benefit. Donald went on to appear in over 150 theatrical shorts and various educational films produced by The Walt Disney Company. He also inspired one of the most complex universes in comic book history, with writers such as Carl Barks and Don Rosa developing a world around Donald Duck and his family that continues to be published today.
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Twitter user TRAFON made reference to this rich history in a tweet, which can be seen below. The tweet contains an image, taken from Tumblr, where several users discussed Donald Duck’s military record and how one comic suggested he suffered from PTSD. Readers should be advised that the full image contains adult language.
As silly as this may sound, all of the information conveyed in this conversation is accurate. Donald was officially enlisted in the United States Army during World War II, during which time he starred in a series of seven animated shorts that parodied the experiences of many a drafted soldier. Donald was later given an official promotion to Buck Sargent and dishonorably discharged from the United States Army in 1984, as part of the celebration of his 50th birthday.
Three years later, in the original DuckTales cartoon series, Donald’s nephews were sent to live with their great uncle Scrooge McDuck, due to Donald’s enlistment in the United States Navy. He was officially addressed as Seaman Duck during his later appearances on the show. It should be noted, however, that Donald has never officially been enlisted in the United States Navy, but he was given the rare honor of being declared an honorary member of the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. He is also a member of the Screen Actors Guild and an honorary graduate of the University of Oregon, where he served as the school mascot from 1943-2010.
Some may laugh at the passion with which Donald’s fans defend his military record, but the facts are on their side. It cannot be denied that Donald Duck holds a special place in animation history as the only Disney character to have officially served his country and been recognized for that service. As for Donald himself, he’d be sure to tell his critics, “Ah, phooey,” before letting loose with a mighty squawk of unintelligible grumbling.
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