Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

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Director John Huston once summed up Charles Bronson as "a grenade with the pin pulled." But Bronson was even more powerful than that: an example of someone who applied his talent, his passion, and his GI Bill, to achieve great success.

Because Charles Bronson was one of millions of American veterans who used his GI Bill benefits after his military service.

Once he completed his military career, Bronson studied art, then acting, and then went on become an international star and icon of cinema, a favorite in both the US and abroad for 50 years and create movie history.

But first, Charles Bronson served in the Army Air Corps. He was given duties as a truck driver, and later trained as a tail-gunner and assigned to a B-29 bomber. Bronson flew on 25 missions and received a Purple Heart for wounds incurred in battle.

After his return from World War II, Bronson used the GI Bill to study art , then acting. Before long, Bronson was making his film debut in You're in the Navy Now (1951). His movie career took off from that day forward.

Charles Bronson was well cast the "avenging angel" in Death Wish, 10 to Midnight (1983), The Evil That Men Do (1984), Assassination (1987) and Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects (1989). His final film roles were as police commissioner Paul Fein in crime/drama TV movies Family of Cops (1995) (TV), Breach of Faith: Family of Cops II (1997) (TV) and Family of Cops III: Under Suspicion (1999) (TV).

A career of blockbuster movies, and a lifetime of achievement as an actor sums up Charles Bronson. And it all began with the GI Bill.

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