Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Football’s Real Warriors And Heroes

Yesterday we celebrated all of the men and women who have served or are serving in the U.S. Military.  These people sacrifice and risk their lives for our country.  In sports, we describe players as courageous and heroic.  We use phrases such as “going to battle” and “winning the war” to portray the action of the game.  The great people that we honored yesterday actually go to battle.  I did some research to find professional football players that served in our military.  A lot of controversy surrounding NFL players avoiding the draft during the Vietnam War; however, there were players who sacrificed their careers on the gridiron for our nation.  Here is a look at the men who marched on the football field and the battlefield. 

Cpl. Mike Basca (HB, Philadelphia, 1941) – Killed in France in 1944

Lt. Charlie Behan (E, Detroit, 1942) – Killed on Okinawa in 1945

Maj. Keith Birlem (E, Cardinals-Washington, 1939) – Killed trying to land combat damaged bomber in England in 1943

Lt. Al Blozis (T, Giants, 1942-1944) – Killed in France, 1945

Lt. Young Bussey (QB, Bears, 1940-1941) – Killed in Philippines landing assault in 1944

Lt. Jack Chevigny (Coach, Cardinals, 1932) – Killed on Iwo Jima in 1945

Capt. Ed Doyle (E, Frankford-Pottsville, 1924-1925) – Killed during North Africa invasion in 1942

Lt. Col. Grassy Hinton (B, Staten Island, 1932) – Killed in plane crash in East Indies in 1944

Capt. Smiley Johnson (G, Green Bay, 1940-1941) – Killed on Iwo Jima in 1945

Lt. Eddie Kahn (G, Boston/Washington, 1935-1937) – Died from wounds suffered during Leyte invasion in 1945

Sgt. Alex Ketzko (T, Detroit, 1943) – Killed in France in 1944

Capt. Lee Kizzire (FB, Detroit, 1937) – Shot down near New Guinea in 1943

Lt. Jack Lummus (E, Giants, 1941) – Killed on Iwo Jima in 1945

Bob Mackert (T, Rochester Jeffersons, 1925)

 Frank Maher (B, Pittsburgh-Cleveland Rams, 1941)

 Pvt. Jim Mooney (E-G-FB, Newark-Brooklyn-Cincinnati-St. Louis-Cardinals, 1930-1937) – Killed by sniper in France in 1944

Chief Spec. Gus Sonnenberg (B, Buffalo-Columbus-Detroit-Providence, 1923-1928, 1930) – Died of illness at Bethesda Naval Hospital in 1944

Lt. Len Supulski (E, Philadelphia, 1942) – Killed in plane crash in Nebraska in 1944

Lt. Don Wemple (E, Brooklyn, 1941) – Killed in plane crash in India in 1944

Lt. Chet Wetterlund (HB, Cardinals-Detroit, 1942) – Killed in plane crash off New Jersey coast in 1944

Capt. Waddy Young (E, Brooklyn, 1939-1940) – Killed in plane crash following first B-29 raid on Tokyo in 1945

Lt. Bob Kalsu (T, Buffalo Bills, 1968.  Bills’ Rookie of the Year) – Killed under fire near the A Shau Valley in 1970.

Lt. Don Steinbrunner (OT, Cleveland Browns, 1953) – Killed when plane was shot down in Kontum, South Vietnam in 1970.

Spec. Patrick “Pat” Tillman (S, Arizona Cardinals, 1998-2001) – Army Ranger in the 75th Regiment.  Killed during friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.

We salute all of these men for their sacrifice and valiant efforts in serving our country.  They truly are heroes.

Heels &  Helmets

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