FACT CHECK: No, Fred Rogers Was Not A Sniper In Vietnam
An image shared on Facebook claims American television host Fred Rogers was a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) sniper who recorded 55 confirmed kills during the Vietnam War.
There is no record of Rogers fighting in the Vietnam War. He was working as the host of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” through much of the war.
The Facebook post, which has garnered over 1,000 reactions, appears to show a drawing of a shirtless Rogers holding a rifle. “Did you know? Fred McFeely Rogers A.K.A. Mr. Rogers was a USMC sniper in Vietnam,” the post claims. “His military record states: 55 confirmed kills and over 100 probables.”
This claim has no factual basis. Rogers, known to many as Mister Rogers for his role in the children’s show, “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” was born in 1928, according to Britannica. He graduated from Rollins College in 1951 and then wrote, produced and served as a puppeteer for “The Children’s Corner,” from 1954 to 1961, the encyclopedia states. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Steve Irwin And Fred Rogers Posing Together)
In 1963, Rogers moved to Canada and started performing as Mister Rogers on the Canadian Broadcast Channel, according to the Mister Rogers official website. He then launched the official “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” broadcast in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1966 and the show aired nationally in 1968, the website reports. The show’s official website makes no mention of Rogers’ alleged military service.
Meanwhile, the U.S. entered the Vietnam War in August 1964, according to the History Channel. Not only was Rogers working on the production of his children’s shows at the time, but he was also no longer eligible for the U.S. draft, which conscripted men who were between 18 and 25 years old, according to the Selective Service System website. Rogers was 36 at the time the U.S. entered the war.
None of his online biographies mention any sort of military service, though his website states he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002.