Veterans Day is the perfect time to honor the men and women who have served in the military. From the U.S. Army to the Marines, the following billionaires are known to have served in the military. Find out how they rose the ranks to be among America's richest veterans.
1. Jack Taylor Net Worth: $10.6 Billion
While you might have never wondered how Enterprise Rent-A-Car got its name, there is an interesting story behind it. When Jack Taylor founded the rental car company in 1957, he named it after the aircraft carrier he served on during World Word II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the business mogul enlisted and served as a Hellcat pilot, flying over the South Pacific.
Though the 93 year old is now retired, he and his family still own about 87.5 percent of Enterprise Holdings, which operates the largest rental fleet in the world, an estimated 1.5 million cars under Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Alamo and National rental companies. Jack Taylor’ $10.6 billion net worth makes him one wealthy veteran, but he's given back to his community in big ways. In recent years, the veteran donated $92.5 million for cultural, educational and historical institutions, mainly in the St. Louis, Mo., area, where he lives.
2. Richard Kinder Net Worth: $8 Billion
Richard Kinder fought in the Vietnam War. Years after serving as a captain in the U.S. Army, Kinder became a founding partner of Kinder Morgan, which would grow to become one of the world’s largest pipeline companies. With a net worth of $8 billion, Kinder has made his fair share of charitable donations. Since 1997, the Kinder Foundation has donated at least $230 million to charitable causes, much of which has gone to community organizations in Houston.
3. Charles Dolan Net Worth: $6.6 Billion
Among the richest billionaires who are veterans is Charles Dolan, the famous television mogul who sold Cablevision for $17.7 billion in September. In addition to having found Cablevision, Dolan is also credited with founding the predecessor to HBO. He also owns Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers and AMC Networks.
Dolan spent his early years editing sports highlight reels for local television stations. He also served in the Air Force at the end of World War II. Today, the military veteran is worth an estimated $6.6 billion.
4. Sumner Redstone Net Worth: $5.2 Billion
It doesn’t take a genius to know that the person who controls CBS and Viacom has a good deal of money. For media mogul Sumner Redstone, the exact amount is $5.2 billion. Before taking over his father’s cinema chain business in 1954, Redstone, while studying at Harvard University during World War II, was chosen by a Japanese history professor to help break Japan’s military and diplomatic codes. For Redstone, that started a three-year stint as a code breaker.
5. Ross Perot, Sr. Net Worth: $4.1 Billion
Known for running as a third-party candidate for president of the United States in the 1990s, Ross Perot has a long history of military work. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Perot served in the Navy from 1953 to 1957. Afterward, he helped bring the treatment of prisoners of war into the spotlight after delivering goods to U.S. POWs in North Vietnam in 1969.
Perot later made his fortune in data systems and computers, founding and later selling Electronic Data Systems to GM. The transaction netted Perot about $1.5 billion. He also founded and sold Perot Systems, selling it to Dell for $3.9 billion in 2009. The billionaire veteran also founded the Perot Foundation, which has donated more than $200 million to charitable causes.
6. Frederick Smith Net Worth: $3.6 Billion
Frederick Smith founded FedEx in 1971. While in college, Smith wrote a thesis that focused on an overnight delivery service business model. While his professor gave his thesis an average grade, Smith's business model helped build a company now worth billions. Today, Smith has a net worth of $3.6 billion.
But the billionaire is not without his humble beginnings. The living veteran completed two tours in Vietnam, serving as a rifle platoon leader, company commander and eventually, a forward air controller.
7. Kirk Kerkorian Net Worth: $3.5 Billion
Kirk Kerkorian, who has a major stake in MGM Studios, has a net worth of $3.5 billion. The business mogul is known for funding an $8.5 billion real estate deal in Las Vegas, the biggest privately-funded deal in U.S. history. In his early years, Kerkorian dropped out of the eighth grade and trained to become a World War II fighter pilot.
8. John Paul DeJoria Net Worth: $3 Billion
John Paul DeJoria is a billionaire thanks to his success with a shampoo brand and a tequila brand. DeJoria was living in his car in 1980 when he teamed up with John Paul Mitchell to start a shampoo company with $700. That initial investment established a company that now generates $1 billion in revenues.
Nine years after starting Paul Mitchell, DeJoria started another successful venture: Patron Spirits. The company now sells 2.4 million cases every year.
DeJoria, who has a net worth of $3 billion, credits a lot of his success to his time spent in the military. When he was awarded the Lone Sailor Award, he said his time in the Navy allowed him to learn personal management and teamwork skills that helped him later in his career.
9. Bob Parsons Net Worth: $2.2 Billion
You might not know his name, but you probably know the company he created thanks to commercials that feature Danica Patrick. In 1997, Bob Parsons founded a group of companies under the GoDaddy name. Even after selling the world’s largest domain registrar for an estimated $2.25 billion, Parsons is still the biggest individual shareholder in the company.
The entrepreneur also owns shopping malls, motorcycle dealerships, an ad agency and a golf club. His current net worth is estimated at $2.2 billion.
Before making it big, Parsons grew up poor in Baltimore and struggled in school. He said his time spent as a U.S. Marine in Vietnam helped turn his life around. During his service, Parsons was awarded a Purple Heart and a Combat Action Ribbon.
10. S. Daniel Abraham Net Worth: $2.1 Billion
While S. Daniel Abraham might not be a household name, SlimFast certainly is. After serving as a U.S. Army infantryman, Abraham returned from Europe in 1947 and purchased Thomas Medical Company. He later developed Slim-Fast Foods and its widely-known weight-loss product SlimFast. The 91 year old now serves as chairman of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and has a net worth of $2.1 billion.
11. George Joseph Net Worth: $1.51 Billion
While the practice of offering better insurance rates to safer drivers might not seem like a novel idea, it was when George Joseph came up with it in the early 1960s. The idea led him to start the auto insurance company Mercury General, which is now a publicly-traded insurer with revenues of $2.7 billion.
Joseph served in the military as a B-17 bomber pilot in World War II. Today, he has a net worth of $1.51 billion.
12. John Edson Net Worth: $1.33 Billion
Billionaire John Edson made his fortune starting a company that sells affordable plywood motorboats. He eventually sold the company for $425 million. Before establishing his net worth of $1.33 billion, however, Edson served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
13. Charles Munger Net Worth: $1.25 Billion
Charles Munger is the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, chairman of the Daily Journal Corporation and director of Costco. Between his prestigious job titles and investment partner Warren Buffett, Munger has established a net worth of $1.25 billion. In his early years, however, Munger served as a meteorologist in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II.
14. H. Ross Perot, Jr. Net Worth: $1.6 Billion
Believe it or not, there are two billionaires that go by the name Ross Perot. But Ross Perot, Jr. doesn’t just have the same name as his dad, he has a billion dollar empire, too. Perot, Jr. struck gold when a giant natural gas field was found under the land he owned. That land helped him grow his net worth to $1.6 billion.
In his younger years, Perot, Jr. served in the Air Force. In the 1980s, he was a fighter jet pilot.