October 1, 2008 is the fiftieth anniversary of the day that Elvis Presley began his U.S. Army service in Germany. To mark this occasion, the Allied Museum in Berlin will mount a special exhibition presenting “Sergeant Elvis Presley“ and his time in the military in Germany from 1958 to 1960. The exhibition curators are Peter Heigl (Nuremberg) and Dr. John Provan (Frankfurt/M.). The exhibition will run from March 7 to May 18, 2008 in Berlin.
Like millions of other GI’s, Elvis arrived at Bremerhaven harbor on a U.S. Marine troopship. A total of 1,299 soldiers were on board with the world-famous pop star. From the North Sea coast he then took a U.S. Army troop train to Friedberg north of Frankfurt, where Elvis was assigned to Ray Barracks and trained as a scout platoon leader of the 3rd Armored Division. On the one hand, the exhibition documents Elvis’s military career, his training, maneuvers and the everyday events that other U.S. soldiers also experienced. In addition, the exhibition also shows the unique situation of the world-renowned entertainer. From the beginning, he attracted the attention of fans who followed his every move and naturally sought opportunities to get his autograph. Countless tabloid articles, especially in the teen magazine Bravo, described his daily activities. Elvis always insisted on being treated like any other U.S. soldier. He performed his duties properly and thus advanced through the ranks. In March 1960 Elvis returned to the USA and continued his musical career. The next film he made in fact treated a large part of his military experience and bore the telling title “GI Blues.” The film forms the keystone of the exhibition.