Obama Ignores Leonard Nimoy’s Military Service in ‘Selfie’ Statement on Star Trek Actor’s Death

Leonard Nimoy Army Reserves
Photo by Leonard Nimoy

President Barack Obama issued a statement on the death of Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy that– as usual for Obama –was as much about Obama as Nimoy.

Nimoy, who became world-famous playing the half-human, half-Vulcan Spock, the First Officer of the Starship Enterprise, in the 1960s TV series Star Trek, passed away at 83 on Friday.

Missing from Obama’s statement was recognition of Nimoy’s military service in the 1950s. Nimoy enlisted in the Army as a Reservist according to Military.com and achieved the rank of sergeant:

“Despite Nimoy’s craving to be on stage and in the spotlight, he enlisted in the United States Army Reserves in the early 1950s. Unfortunately, his personal records were destroyed in a fire in 1973, but a few things are still known about his activities during his service. He spent a total of 18 months in the Reserves, and his service number was ER 11 229 770. He spent most of his time at Ft. McPherson in Georgia, and was discharged in 1955 having earned the rank of sergeant. Nimoy was in charge of a platoon that happened to include actor Ken Berry. Berry confided in Nimoy his ambitions to dance and perform, and Nimoy encouraged him to pursue his goals once he left the military.

“Part of Nimoy’s time in the military was spent putting on shows for the Army Special Services branch which he wrote, narrated, and emceed. He even found time to direct and play Stanley in the Atlanta Theater Guild’s production A Streetcar Named Desire. Nimoy’s time in the military must have helped inform some of his roles, including an unaccredited role as an Army telex operator in Them! He also played a soldier with PTSD in a film produced by the United States Marine Corps.”

Obama’s statement issued Friday afternoon has three brief paragraphs—one devoted to Nimoy and two devoted to Obama speaking about himself:

“Long before being nerdy was cool, there was Leonard Nimoy. Leonard was a lifelong lover of the arts and humanities, a supporter of the sciences, generous with his talent and his time. And of course, Leonard was Spock. Cool, logical, big-eared and level-headed, the center of Star Trek’s optimistic, inclusive vision of humanity’s future.

“I loved Spock.

“In 2007, I had the chance to meet Leonard in person. It was only logical to greet him with the Vulcan salute, the universal sign for “Live long and prosper.” And after 83 years on this planet – and on his visits to many others – it’s clear Leonard Nimoy did just that. Michelle and I join his family, friends, and countless fans who miss him so dearly today.”

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