Private Presley Reporting For Duty

March 3, 1958

Pvt. Elvis Presley slept early Tuesday morning in an Army barracks guarded by a pair of sentries armed with automatic carbines.

From Elvis’ military performance thus far, there was little likelihood they were there to keep him in — but rather to keep others out of his new home. Despite sleepiness and the antics of a horde of newsmen which has dogged his first day in the service, he is making every attempt to be a good soldier.

He and 20 other inductees from Memphis — with Elvis in command — arrived here by bus at 11:25 p.m. Monday. As the bus rolled to a halt, 10 squealing, screaming youngsters greeted the rock and roller as if he were already a military hero.

— Louis Silver reporting from Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, for Presley’s induction.

Looking back: Photographer Bob Williams said Presley was issued a duffel bag and instructed to stencil his name on it. But it was heavier than he anticipated, Williams said, and as he heaved it over his shoulder, lost his balance and dropped it. Just as Presley threw it back over his shoulder, Williams snapped a photo to the new inductee’s dismay.

“He said, ‘Bob, don’t use that’ — I don’t think he wanted his fans to think he was a pantywaist — but it was the best thing I had of the day. I had to.”

As a footnote, Williams said Presley gave him the stencil when he finished with it and he kept it as a memento.

Williams, who retired in 1982, said the camp was overrun with photographers that day.

“It was as if he (Presley) was the only one being inducted that day. I was sorta feeling sorry for the rest of the guys. They just sat around twiddling their thumbs while this was going on ... They surely resented it.”

Elvis Presley was outfitted with all of his military gear at Fort Chaffee, Ark. Elvis was inducted March 24, 1958, at Memphis and spent several days at Fort Chaffee before moving on to Fort Hood Texas on March 28, where he would undergo six months training. He would return to his hometown March 7, 1960, after completing his tour of duty. (Robert Williams/The Commercial Appeal)

Elvis Presley was outfitted with all of his military gear at Fort Chaffee, Ark. Elvis was inducted March 24, 1958, at Memphis and spent several days at Fort Chaffee before moving on to Fort Hood Texas on March 28, where he would undergo six months training. He would return to his hometown March 7, 1960, after completing his tour of duty. (Robert Williams/The Commercial Appeal)

Panchos
Panchos