Tom Hanks has joined a real-life Band of Brothers.

The Saving Private Ryan star was inducted as an honorary member into the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame Thursday, marking the first time an actor was awarded the honor.

The 49-year-old Oscar winner was one of 17 recent inductees into the Hall of Fame, though he was only one of two civilians, and the only one who was neither a decorated veteran nor career soldier.

Apparently everyone really does like Hanks.

While he was unable to attend the Fort Bennings, Georgia, ceremony, the actor was honored in absentia for his commitment to the nation's veterans on- and off-screen.

Hanks was praised for his Oscar-nominated role in Steven Spielberg's WWII opus in which he played an Army Ranger company commander. He was also honored for his multiple gigs on the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers. Hanks won two Emmys for the miniseries, as a director and producer, and was nominated for his cowriting work. He also briefly appeared in the true-story saga.

Hanks has also served as the spokesman for the World War II Memorial Campaign, acting as the face of the initiative's public-service advertising from 1998 until the memorial's dedication ceremony in 2004, which he attended alongside President Bush.

He serves as honorary chairman of the D-Day Museum Capital Campaign, and in 2004 he kicked off a campaign to salute the "citizen soldiers" by honoring both WWII veterans and Holocaust survivors who are currently serving in Congress.

Hanks, currently starring in the international blockbuster Da Vinci Code, was chosen for the Hall of Fame honor by a nominating committee composed of members of the Army's Elite Ranger units and regimental associations. The group of nominees was then confirmed by a selection board. All recipients, aside from the Hanks-led honorary members, were required to be graduates of the Army's ranger school or have served in a ranger unit.

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