• Some of America's wealthiest individuals served in the military
  • These include Sheldon Adelson, Ralph Lauren and real estate mogul Donald Bren
  • David Murdock was penniless after serving in the Army and turned his life around after buying a Detroit diner for $1,200

Veterans are regarded by many as the modern heroes of society, and it is because of their service that America enjoys the liberty it has now. There are veterans, however, who found great success in other fields after returning from service.

Take a look at some of America's richest veterans and find out how they made a name for themselves after serving in the military, courtesy of Forbes.

Kathleen Hildreth

Through airplane maintenance, Kathleen Hildreth, the daughter of two pilots, is now worth an estimated $370 million, which also helped her make Forbes' list of America's richest self-made women.

After serving as a helicopter pilot and maintenance test pilot until 1988, Hildreth, now 59, worked at defense contractors GE, Lockheed Martin and DynCorp, where she met co-founder William Shelt. The two then founded M1 Support Services, an airplane maintenance company in Texas, in 2003.

According to The Org, Hildreth and Shelt's company now boasts over 6,500 employees.

David H. Murdock

In ninth grade, David H. Murdock dropped out of school and pumped gas until he eventually got drafted into the army in 1943. The "pineapple king" was penniless upon returning home from the war at the age of 22, but his life changed after a $1,200 loan that he used to buy a diner in Detroit. By 1985, he was able to buy out the Hawaiian real estate outfit Castle & Cooke -- the company that owned Dole.

With the success of Dole and his real estate ventures, Murdock, 98, is now worth an estimated $2 billion.

In a video posted by Dole Europe, the self-made billionaire revealed that he is dyslexic and that it was his mother who had taught him most of the things he knew.

Ted Lerner and family

Shortly after finishing high school, Ted Lerner was drafted and served as an Army typist during World War II. After the war, Lerner attended George Washington University where he got his undergraduate and law degrees.

In 1952, the then-26-year-old borrowed $250 from his wife to start a real estate company, where he started selling homes for developers. Today, Lerner Enterprises is regarded as one of the largest owners of real estate in Washington, D.C., and the now-95-year-old and his family are worth an estimated $4.8 billion.

Ralph Lauren

Before launching his line of men's ties in 1967, Ralph Lauren served in the army for two years (1962 to 1964). In 2015, the billionaire stepped down from his role as CEO for the publicly traded fashion label but still controls about 82% of the voting rights in the company. At 81, he's now worth an estimated $5.8 billion.

In the HBO documentary “Very Ralph,” Lauren admitted that he never considered himself to be in the fashion business, despite his tremendous success in the apparel industry, WWD reported.

Gucci and Ralph Lauren Leads Bing’s 2011 List of Most Searched Fashion Brands.
Based on the aggregation of search queries by Microsoft’s Bing search engine, high-end luxury brands Gucci and Ralph Lauren are the two most searched fashion brands online. REUTERS/ERIC THAYER

Edward Johnson III

Edward Johnson III, 90, became an analyst at Fidelity, his father's company, after serving in the Army for two years. Thereafter, he became the financial services company's CEO for 37 years until his daughter Abigail took over his position in 2014. Today, Fidelity is the second-largest mutual fund manager in the country, and Johnson's net worth is estimated to be around $7.4 billion.

Johnson is a follower of the Japanese concept of "kaizen," which promotes continuous growth, according to Babson College. The billionaire said he believes this virtue makes the biggest impact in business.

Donald Bren

With a net worth of $15.3 billion, Donald Bren, 89, was dubbed by Forbes as "America’s richest real estate baron." He went into real estate after serving in the Marine Corps for three years.

In 1963, he joined the Mission Viejo Co., which oversaw an 11,000-acre new community in the California city, and later became the owner. Bren's company, Orange County-based Irvine Co., now has more than 115 million square feet of real estate -- mostly in southern California -- in its portfolio.

Sheldon Adelson

The richest among the most successful veterans in America, Sheldon Adelson, the son of a cab driver, started his career by selling packaged hotel toiletries with his brother after serving in the Army for three years. At the age of 55, Adelson entered the casino business when he bought the Sands Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas together with a group of partners for $128 million.

The billionaire military veteran owned about half of the $14 billion gambling empire. Adelson was worth an estimated $35.5 billion before he died at 87 at his home in Malibu, California, in January this year from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, the Associated Press reported.

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson donates $1 million to block Flordia's Amendment 2.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson speaks at the Global Gaming Expo 2014 at the Venetian Las Vegas, Oct. 1, 2014, in Las Vegas. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images