John Wayne, the legendary actor known for his rugged on-screen persona and notable career in Western films, was not only a Hollywood icon but also a passionate supporter of the United States military. While the claim that he personally funded the construction of the JFK Chapel at Fort Bragg is not accurate, his involvement and dedication to the project played a significant role in its realization. Fort Bragg, a prominent U.S. Army installation located in North Carolina, has a rich history and serves as the home of the 82nd Airborne Division. In the 1960s, plans were underway to build a chapel to honor the memory of President John F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated in 1963. It was during this time that John Wayne became involved in supporting the project.

John Wayne, known for his admiration of the military and his commitment to patriotic causes, used his platform as a prominent actor to rally support and raise funds for the construction of the JFK Chapel. While he did not personally provide the entire funding for the project, his efforts were instrumental in generating public awareness and financial contributions from various sources. Through his celebrity status, Wayne organized and participated in fundraising events, including benefit concerts and galas, which helped generate the necessary funds for the chapel’s construction. His presence and support served to inspire others to contribute to the cause, demonstrating his commitment to honoring President Kennedy and supporting the military community. Surrounding the chapel are memorials dedicated to the fallen Soldiers of the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) and the 7th Special Forces Group (Airborne), both of which were reactivated on Fort Bragg, along with a tribute monument from John Wayne who starred in the film “The Green Berets.

The chapel’s construction was made possible through the combined efforts and financial support of the United Services Organization (USO), the local community, and the U.S. Army. The USO, a nonprofit organization that supports military personnel and their families, played a significant role in the fundraising and construction process. Over time, the narrative surrounding John Wayne’s involvement in the construction of the chapel may have become embellished, with the details evolving into a tale of personal funding. This is not uncommon in the world of celebrity legends, where stories can take on a life of their own, fueled by the desire to celebrate and honor influential figures.

The JFK Chapel, officially dedicated in 1966, stands as a testament to John Wayne’s unwavering dedication to the project. It serves as a place of worship and reflection for soldiers and their families stationed at Fort Bragg, providing a solemn space where they can find solace and comfort. While the narrative surrounding John Wayne’s involvement in funding the JFK Chapel may have become somewhat embellished over time, it is important to recognize and appreciate his significant role in raising awareness and generating support for the project. His tireless efforts contributed to the successful realization of the chapel, which stands as a lasting tribute to President Kennedy and a testament to the enduring connection between Hollywood and the military community.



By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.