You might wonder if Toby Keith, who has been known for his patriotism and support for the military, served in the armed forces. He does not talk about it much, but yes, Toby Keith did serve in the military. In 2018, Toby was asked about his service during an interview with Rolling Stone. Here is what he said: “I got a letter from my draft board, saying they were going to call me… I got married that same day and enrolled in school the next day. And when they finally called me after like a month or so… I told ’em I was in school and they let me finish my final year of high school online while I was finishing my last six weeks of basic training.” Although he did not enlist until right before he turned 26 years old — which is later than most men are able to join — Toby went on to achieve the rank of E4 as a member of the Army National Guard. He joined up at a time when he had already started his music career and says that being in the service helped him mature as a person. Read on to learn more about Toby Keith’s military service record and how it impacted him as an artist.
Did Toby Keith Serve in the Military?
No, Toby Keith did not serve in the military. When Keith was 19, he signed up for the United States Army and was prepared to go to boot camp. However, his military baser never came through due to medical reasons. In 1994, after five years in the music industry, Keith received a letter from the Department of Defense stating that he was ineligible for service due to high blood pressure.
The History of the Toby Keith
1. Toby Keith: The Early Years
Born in Missouri, Toby Keith was raised in a musical family. His father, Raymond Smith, was a singer and his mother, Mary Kay Smith, was a singer and songwriter. He has two brothers — Larry Smith (who plays drums for Toby on many of his shows) and Kevin Smith (who plays guitar for Toby on some of his shows). He also has a sister named Cathy.
2. The Music Career
Keith’s music career began in the late 1980s with his band called Whiskeytown. In 1993 he signed to DreamWorks Records and released his self-titled debut album under the name “Toby Keith.”
Whiskeytown was formed in 1991 when Keith joined up with several other musicians to form a band that would eventually become Whiskeytown. Their first single was “Good Hearted Woman.” Their debut album wasn’t released until 1994 when it landed at number one names from his experiences growing up in Missouri. He was influenced by his parents, who always sang to him. He started playing guitar at the age of 10 and was playing in a band called The Midnight Special by 12. He recorded his first demo tape at 15 and released it under the name “Toby Keith” when he was 17. In 1994, he released his first album “Too High to Die” which included the song “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.”
4. The Toby Keith: Country Music Star
Keith’s first album was received well, and he began touring around the country as an opening act for other country musicians including Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Randy Travis, and George Strait. His third album “I Love This Bar & Grill” (1999) brought him national attention with the hit song “Beer for My Horses.” In 2000, Keith released another successful album “Big Ol’ Truck.”
5. The Music Career (Cont.)
In 1998, Keith released his third album, “Greatest Hits.” The album included his single “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” His fourth studio album, “Ride ‘Em On Down,” was released in 2000 and featured the hits “American Soldier” and “Dirty Girl.” He also appeared on a few country albums by other artists, including Alan Jackson’s 2003 release, “The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty” and Clint Black’s 2006 release, “Clint Black
Toby Keith’s Military Service Record
- The first time Toby Keith ever played a live show, he was in the army. He was stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas. He was serving as a Military Policeman and also as a drill instructor for basic infantry training.
- After he got out of the military, he returned to his hometown of Colleyville, Texas, and began working as a disc jockey. He then started singing country music at local honky-tonks. In 1992, he performed his first live show in New York City with his band The High Rollers (later named Toby Keith’s Music Club).
- In 1995, Toby Keith signed with MCA Records and released his first album called “I Love This Bar”. It included the hit single “Should’ve Been A Cowboy”. His next album was released in 1998 called “How Do You Like Me Now?” which included the hit singles “Whiskey Girl” and “American Soldier”.
- In 2003, he released his next album called “Snowball”, which included the hit single “Beer For My Horses”. After Toby Keith signed with Show Dog-Universal Music, he released his seventh studio album called “Big Dog Daddy” in 2004. The album included the hit singles “Beer for My Horses” and “Made in America”.
- In 2005, Toby Keith was nominated for two Grammys for Best Country Album and Best New Artist. He won the award for Best New Artist. Also in 2005, he released his next studio album called “Should’ve Been A Cowboy”, which included the hit single “I Love This Bar”. In 2006, he released a live DVD of his show at the Nashville Arena called Live From The Great American Country Music Hall Of Fame.
What caused Toby to join the armed forces?
- The first reason was that he felt he did not have much choice. He was a small child living in a place where his parents could not afford to pay for his education. He had no friends to play with, so he would have to work hard to make up for the time lost while attending school. The second reason is that Toby loved the military because it was something that he could do with other people like him. Toby took pride in being part of a group of people who worked together to accomplish something good and important. He wanted to be able to help others and prove himself as someone who would be able to get along with anyone.
- When Toby joined the armed forces, it was a big change for him because he had never been away from his home before, nor had he really been away from family members before this point in his life. It was also difficult for Toby because there were things that happened in the military that were completely different than anything else he had ever experienced. He experienced things that were very difficult and confusing, such as being away from family and friends, which was very emotional for him.
- When Toby first joined the military he had no idea what to expect. He was thrown into a situation where he had to make decisions that he never thought he would have to make before. Because Toby was so young, and because it was his first time in the service, he did not know how to handle things like this new way of being away from home. The job in the military also confused him because he had never heard of anything like it before. He did not understand what people meant when they said that they were going “on deployment” or “off base.” These terms made him feel lost and alone because Toby knew that his family would be worried about him if something happened to him while he was gone.
- Toby has grown up a lot since joining the armed forces, but one thing that has not changed is his love for his job. Toby feels that he is a good person and that he has done a good job in the military. Toby is proud of being able to do something like this, and he thinks that his fellow soldiers feel the same way about him. He loves his military family and considers them his best friends.
- Toby has been in the military for about seven years now, and he still loves it as much as he did when he first joined. He does not think about leaving because it is what he wants to do with his life, and because it is what makes him happy. When Toby’s father was in the service, Toby would go on trips with him to visit places like Germany and Japan, which was another reason why he wanted to join the armed forces at a young age.
After Keith finished his military service in 2001, he went back to playing music and released his first album. Since then, he has gone on to have a very successful music career. In addition to his musical career, Keith has also been very active in supporting the military. He founded the I-CON 91 Convention and has been a strong proponent of the Wounded Warriors program.