What Was Clint Eastwood's First Job Out Of The Army?

After trying — and failing — to enroll at Seattle University in 1951 (via American Film Institute, posted at Clint Eastwood), a young Clint Eastwood was drafted into the military during the Korean War. Following a round of basic training, the actor didn't end up serving on the front lines (via Military.com). Instead, Eastwood stayed where he trained at Fort Ord, a former military base in northern California. There, he was given the role of swimming instructor due to his experience as a lifeguard prior to joining (via History Link).


Eastwood stayed in the army for three years, before being discharged in 1953. From there, the actor decided to return to education and got a place at L.A. City College. Here, he studied drama which would eventually lead to a contract with Universal Studios (via Screen Rant). Despite the studio terminating his contract early, Eastwood went on to be cast in the CBS western series "Rawhide" after bumping into someone who worked for the broadcaster.

All this happened over a substantial period of time after Eastwood left the army. So what did he do immediately after being discharged?

Clint Eastwood taught a lifeguarding class over the summer of 1953 at a lake near Seattle

Following his discharge in 1953, Clint Eastwood spent the summer teaching lifeguard classes at the Red Cross Aquatic School at Beaver Lake near Seattle (via Beaver Lake Community Club). As History Link notes, the school was a hub for training in first aid, life saving, and other water safety techniques like handling small water craft.


The summer that Eastwood worked there saw the actor teach nearly 40 trainees from police departments, industries, and youth groups. There are photographs of the actor teaching in these classes, which saw him demonstrating first aid techniques for drowning (via King County) and how to make water wings, a makeshift flotation device, out of a pair of pants.

According to History Link, when Eastwood's time at the school came to an end he continued to lifeguard at Kennydale Beach before moving to Los Angeles. After taking classes at L.A. City College, landing that Universal contract, and starring in "Rawhide," Eastwood eventually became one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood.