Actress, TV host Sheryl Underwood also served in Air Force

Sheryl Underwood in her Air Force recruit training photo at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. 
Photo courtesy of Air Force

Comedian and actress Sheryl Underwood enlisted in the Air Force as a field medic in 1981, after graduating from high school in Atwater, California. 

Basic training was at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, where she couldn’t even run a mile upon arrival. But through encouragement by her drill instructors, she was able to complete the challenging physical requirements.

Subsequent duty stations included Travis AFB, California; Maxwell AFB, Alabama; Sheppard AFB, Texas; and, Castle AFB, California.

Later, she moved to Chicago and joined the O’Hare Air Reserve Station, an Air Force Reserve unit at O’Hare Field. 

While there, she deployed in support of several exercises that included two Exercise Reforgers in West Germany and Team Spirit in South Korea.

She first became noticed to the public as the first female finalist in 1989’s “Miller Lite Comedy Search.” Since September 2011, she has been one of the hosts on the CBS Daytime talk show “The Talk.”

Also, she hosts “Sheryl Underwood Radio” which has 511 domestic and international affiliates, and “The World According to Sheryl — The Podcast of Sheryl Underwood Radio.”

Underwood has had several minor acting roles, including Bad Mouth Bessie in the 1998 film “I Got the Hook Up” and Catfish Rita in the 2005 film “Beauty Shop.”

“The Talk” co-hosts (from left) Julie Chen, Aisha Tyler, Sharon Osbourne, Sara Gilbert and Sheryl Underwood pose for a photo, July 12, 2012. Photo courtesy of Greg Hernandez

After her entertainment career was established, Underwood found time to entertain the troops through USO tours in Kuwait and Afghanistan. 

She also spoke at the Academy of Country Music’s All-Star Salute to the Troops April 7, 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada. “It’s an honor and a privilege to even be invited to something like this because, you know, we love our country, but we definitely support our troops who are standing up for us. And it’s not just the person in the service that’s serving, it’s their families as well,” she said.

Sheryl Underwood is with a soldier at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Dec. 12, 2007, as a part of the Sergeant Major of the Army Hope and Freedom Tour to entertain troops. Photo by Army Spc. Christopher Grammer

Underwood is founder and chief executive officer of the Pack Rat Foundation for Education, a non-profit organization, where she’s raising money to support the 105 historically black colleges and universities and the students committed to pursuing higher education. 

She also initiated support for survivors of the 2010 Haitian earthquakes and the 2011 tornadoes across the United States. Under her leadership, a health center opened in 2011 for an all-girls high school in Ghana, providing health services to more than 2,000 students.

Underwood, who was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Oct. 28, 1963, is 58.

Sheryl Underwood, a comedian, entertains service members during a USO tour Dec. 23, 2009, at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan. Photo by Air Force Senior Airman Felicia Juenke