On Nov. 11, we celebrate the brave men and women who have served our country—and the fictional "veterans" who have graced our small screens.
By Nate Millado
Every November, the nation comes together to honor the brave veterans of the armed forces. To anyone who has served our country: We thank you. Many of our favorite TV characters boast some impressive military credentials—and have been forever changed by their experiences on the field.
Sam Hanna (NCIS: Los Angeles)
LL COOL J as special agent Sam Hanna in NCIS: Los Angeles.
Photo Credit: Cliff Lipson/CBS.
Although his father was a colonel in the Marines, Sam Hanna (LL COOL J) opted to serve in the Navy instead—much to his dad's chagrin. As a member of SEAL Team 6, he went on missions in Afghanistan, Chad, and Iraq; he was captured, tortured, and buried alive in Bosnia before being rescued by his unit.
Kai Holman (NCIS: Hawaii)Alex Tarrant as Kai HolmanPhoto: Karen Neal/CBS
Kai Holman is a Hawaiian native (and former Marine) who returns home to care for his dad and becomes a field agent assigned to NCIS Pearl.
Thomas Magnum (Magnum P.I.)
Jay Hernandez plays former prisoner of war Thomas Magnum in Magnum P.I.
Photo Credit: Karen Neal/CBS.
Thomas Magnum (Jay Hernandez) is an ex–Navy SEAL and former POW in Afghanistan who repurposed his military know-how as a private eye in Hawaii.
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Danny, Frank, and Henry Reagan (Blue Bloods)
Donnie Wahlberg as Danny Reagan in Blue Bloods.
Photo Credit: John Paul Filo/CBS.
Decorated Marine Danny Reagan (Donnie Wahlberg) took a leave of absence from the NYPD to serve two tours in Iraq. He saw combat in Fallujah, but sadly was the only member of his platoon to come home alive.
His enlistment in the Corps carried on a tradition that includes his grandfather Henry (Len Cariou), who served in the Korean War, and his father, Commissioner Frank Reagan (Tom Selleck), who served in Vietnam. The Reagan clan is a family dedicated to service, overseas and at home.
Lisa Davis (SEAL Team)
Toni Trucks as Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Lisa Davis.
Photo Credit: Screengrab/CBS
We met Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Lisa Davis (Toni Trucks) before she joined the "cake-eaters" with an officer's commission. Bravo Team knows from long experience that their former logistics specialist brings all the skill, loyalty, and commitment from her enlisted days to her commissioned assignment as an intelligence officer.
Jethro Gibbs (NCIS)
Gibbs (Mark Harmon) travels to Afghanistan to search for a missing Marine in NCIS.
Photo Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS.
Before he became an NCIS special agent, Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) served in the U.S. Marine Corps. He spent several years with the military police, then rose up the ranks and became a scout sniper. Gibbs saw several overseas deployments, including to Panama as part of Operation Just Cause and to Kuwait during Operation Desert Storm.
Steve McGarrett (Hawaii Five-0)
Alex O'Loughlin as Steve McGarrett on Hawaii Five-0.
Photo Credit: CBS via Getty Images.
Hawaii Five-0's Steve McGarrett (Alex O'Loughlin) is a former Navy SEAL and decorated war vet. He served for six years (four in Afghanistan) before transferring to Naval Intelligence. Among his many accolades: a Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Navy Expert Rifleman Medal.
Riley (United States of Al)
Parker Young as Riley.
Photo: Michael Yarish/CBS
In United States of Al, Riley (Parker Young) is a Marine combat veteran readjusting to civilian life in Ohio and reunites with Awalmir ("Al") (Adhir Kalyan), the Interpreter who served with his unit in Afghanistan and is starting life anew in America.
Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries)
Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) as a Confederate soldier in The Vampire Diaries.
Photo Credit: Annette Brown/2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
Bad boy vamp Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) is a veteran twice over on The CW hit series The Vampire Diaries: He fought in the Civil War for the Confederate army and in World War II with the U.S. Army.Stream The Vampire Diaries on Netflix.
Bravo Team(SEAL Team)
Sonny (AJ Buckley), Ray (Neil Brown Jr.), Jason (David Boreanaz), and Clay (Max Thieriot).
Photo Credit: Eric Ray Davidson/CBS.
Although Veterans Day largely recognizes living heroes for their sacrifice, it's also a day to pay tribute to all who have served this country, in wartime and peace. That certainly extends to the fearless members of the Navy SEALs.
On television, Jason Hayes (David Boreanaz) leads his elite Tier One operators on clandestine high-stakes missions, knowing the toll it takes on them and their families. His bonds with Ray, Sonny, Clay, and the extended team are deep, showing the strong attachments that grow from shared service.