These are the guys who have lived the American dream. Five former enlisted warriors from various services who raised their right hand when it was time to serve, then got out and hustled to earn what they knew could be theirs.
These veterans went from E-1 to billionaire.
1. John Orin Edson, Army – Net worth: 1.6 Billion
Mr. Edson’s service began during the Korean War when he enlisted in the Army, where he spent three years in the signal corps.
Once out, Edson began selling his own racing boats from a parking lot in Seattle, Washington. He eventually bought the rights to Bayliner Marine for a reported $100.00 and developed the company. Edson sold it to Brunswick for $425 million.
He joined the billionaire’s club through sound investing and now reportedly spends his days flying helicopters and cruising yachts.
2. Daniel Abraham, Army – Net worth: 1.8 Billion
When Abraham finished his service with the infantry in 1947 Europe, he returned stateside where he bought the Thompson Medical Company. At the time, the company had revenue of $5,000.00 annually. Today, the company is still around and is doing quite well.
He joined the billionaire’s club through his interest in the weight-loss industry, which led to his development of Slim-Fast Foods. You may have heard of it.
3. David Murdock, Army – Net worth: 4 Billion
Mr. Murdock dropped out of school in the 9th grade and was drafted into the Army during WWII. Once out, Murdock moved to Detroit and was homeless for a time, but he managed to get a $1,200 loan to buy a failing diner.
He flipped it for a small profit that he used to move to Arizona. There, Murdock began a career in real estate, acquiring many businesses, including the pineapple and banana producer Dole Food Company, which he developed into the giant it is today.
Murdock joined the billionaire’s club by selling his 98-percent share of the sixth largest Island of Hawaii. He believes in health and has vocal plans to live to see his 125th birthday.
4. Charles Dolan, Air Force – Net worth: 5 Billion
Charles Dolan served in the Air Force before beginning his endeavors in telecommunications. Dolan got his start producing sports clips that he sold for syndication.
In the 60s, he established Teleguide, a platform that provided information services through cable television to hotels in New York. Dolan created the predecessor to what would become HBO.
He served as executive chairman of AMC Networks, which includes AMC, WETv, IFC, and the Sundance Channel, as well as the independent film business, IFC Entertainment.
Dolan serves as chairman to Cablevision now and, after stepping down as CEO, he bought the Red Sox… No big deal.
5. John Paul DeJoria, Navy – Net worth: 4 Billion
Born in Echo Park, California to immigrant parents, John Paul served two years in the Navy before getting out. He went from homeless to living in his car to Billionaire through pure hustle.
He went salon to salon, selling hair products wherever he could, developing his company Paul Mitchell Systems with partner Paul Mitchell.
His true rags-to-riches, American-dream story continues as DeJoria is still part of several businesses, including the Patron Spirits company.
He’s also a former member of the Hells Angels. How’s that for keeping it real?