Jerry Garcia’s Army Record Uncovered, Describing the Guitarist as “Willfully Disobedient,” An “Irresponsible, Immature” Soldier
Photo by Jay Blakesberg
Newly uncovered Army records indicate that during his brief stint in the army, the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia was not particularly cut out for service.
The guitarist’s personnel file from Fort Winfield Scott in the Presidio of San Francisco was shared via Twitter by bestselling author Steve Silberman, and it shows that the 18-year-old Garcia – then known as Recruit Jerome J. Garcia, RA19666366 – was clearly not suited for military service with a penchant for individuality from the very beginning. (To be fair, Garcia was only in uniform as a punishment for stealing his mother’s car.)
According to a report by his commanding officer, Garcia had “no desire to improve himself as a solider” and had the main objective of “getting out of the Army as soon as possible.”
The legendary guitarist is described as “unreliable, irresponsible, immature, unwilling to accept authority, and completely lacking in soldierly qualities.”
In another statement, a sergeant notes Garcia’s ongoing willful disobedience in the form of “personal uncleanliness and the filthy condition of his personal billeting area in the barracks.”
Clearly, Garcia was not a military man, and after less than a year in service, he was given his walking papers with a general discharge on Dec. 14, 1960.
Read the guitarists full file via archives.gov here.