The legendary writer and television presenter/personality Rod Serling created The Twilight Zone — a series that needs no introduction.

Before he got his timeless and twisted stories off the ground and into American living rooms however, he served in the United States military — as an Army soldier serving in the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 11th Airborne Division at Camp Toccoa in Georgia. He eventually saw combat in the Pacific Theater under General Douglas MacArthur, in the Philippines, where his regiment had a 50% casualty rate (over 400 men were killed).

Private Serling was wounded in battle a number of times, and before being discharged in 1946, was awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Philippine Liberation Medal.

This from Wikipedia via The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives Thematic Series and Contemporary Authors Online:

Serling’s combat experience affected him deeply and influenced much of his writing. It left him with nightmares and flashbacks for the rest of his life. He said, “I was bitter about everything and at loose ends when I got out of the service. I think I turned to writing to get it off my chest.”

The upstate New York native didn’t wait long to put use his military experience to shape The Twilight Zone, the following short clip is taken from the very first episode titled “Where Is Everybody?”:

To watch the episode in its entirety, click here.