UPDATE: The post below references Karl Stern’s post on the Wrestling Observer Forum. I highly recommend Karl’s article on Slaughter: Sgt. Slaughter in the Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame: The Case is Complicated.
ORIGINAL: Sgt. Slaughter is one of the most beloved characters in the history of professional wrestling.
In the 1980s and early 90s, he was one of the biggest names in the industry and his reputation was boosted by stories about his time in the military. As the character Sgt. Slaughter, he claimed that he was a drill instructor when he served in the United States Marines. He would go on to tell similar stories in non-kayfabe interviews. In fact, as recently as last February, he told Sam Roberts and Jim Norton that he served two tours in Vietnam.
There are no interviews available online where he gives details on people who served with him or what platoon/battalion he was part of.
It turns out that specific details of his military service were not included in interviews because he never served in the military. In fact, according to an article in the Baltimore Sun from March 24, 1985, Marines wrote to him to ask him to stop pretending that he served with them.
This story came to light on the @socaluncensored Twitter account and in a thread on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter forum started by Karl Stern.
There are other inconsistencies with Slaughter’s stories. One is that he served for 6 years in the United States Marine Corps until 1973. The issue with that timeline is that he started wrestling for the AWA in 1972.
It was common for wrestlers to live their gimmicks during Slaughter’s heyday so it made sense for the character to have served and for him to keep up with the myth at that time. However, giving non-kayfabe interviews today and still claiming to have served in the military will rub a lot of people the wrong way.
Here are the tweets fro @socaluncensored on the story.