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.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Football’s Real Warriors And Heroes
WORLD WAR II
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.
OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM
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