Young and Drunk, Jack Kerouac Joined the Navy, Marines, Coast Guard and Army, All in One Day

by Owen James Burke


Jack Kerouac, 1942, reporting for Coast Guard duty, likely three sheets to the wind

In 1942, a young and drunk Jack Kerouac somehow found a way to enlist in nearly every branch of the military within the very same day. Here’s a photograph of him reporting for duty with the Coast Guard. Within two years of that, he’d serve in the Merchant Marine and the Navy, but was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1943 after only 8 days of service, the Navy citing “indifferent character” with a diagnosis of “schizoid personality.” “I just can’t stand it; I like to be myself,” he reportedly told the medical examiner.

There appears to be no public record of him having shown up for service in the Navy, the Marines, or the Army.


Jack Kerouac, c. 1942-43, Merchant Marine, looking a little steadier behind the eyes

(Photos: Boat Porn and gCaptain)


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