After graduating from high school in 1974, television personality and talk show host Montel Williams enlisted in the U.S. Marines. He took Basic Training at Parris Island, South Carolina where he was promoted to platoon guide. After Basic Training, Williams was sent to the Desert Warfare Training Center at Twenty-nine Palms, near Palm Springs, California. His superiors were so impressed by his leadership skills that he was recommended for, and accepted to, the Naval Academy Preparatory School at Newport, Rhode Island. Williams completed his one-year course and was accepted to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. Williams was the first African American enlisted Marine to complete and graduate from both the Academy Prep School and the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis. He earned the rank of lieutenant and also received various accolades and awards during his prestigious military career. He served from 1974 to 1996.