Tom Hanks Makes the U.S. Army's Ranger Hall of Fame

Tom Hanks has been inducted into the U.S. Army's Ranger Hall of Fame as an honorary member, the first actor to receive such an honor.

Hanks, 49, was unable to attend Thursday's induction ceremony. He was cited for his role in "Saving Private Ryan" and his continued commitment to honoring those who served in World War II.

The actor played a World War II Army Ranger company commander in the 1998 film, directed by Steven Spielberg. He was also honored for being among the writers, producers and directors of the Emmy-winning 2001 miniseries "Band of Brothers."

Hanks was cited for serving as the national spokesman for the World War II Memorial Campaign and for being honorary chairman of the D-Day Museum Capital Campaign.

Each year, the Army's elite Ranger units and regimental associations nominate a small number of Hall of Fame candidates, who are then scrutinized by a selection board. All but honorary inductees such as Hanks must be graduates of the Army's grueling Ranger School at Fort Benning or have served in a Ranger unit.

The latest 17 inductees were mostly career soldiers, ranging from generals to sergeants. The only civilian was U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall, whose district is in the middle Georgia, including Macon. Marshall is a decorated Vietnam War veteran, Ranger school graduate and member of the House Armed Services Committee.