The greatest athletes to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces


Skilled athletes have served within the army since skilled sports activities started in america. Listed below are 50 of the best to have donned a service uniform along with their sport’s respective uniforms.


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Grover Cleveland Alexander

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Grover Cleveland Alexander is likely one of the winningest pitchers ever, notching 373 victories over a 20-year profession with a 2.56 ERA. He was additionally a sergeant within the Military artillery throughout World Battle I. He was inducted into the Corridor of Fame in 1938.


Chuck Bednarik

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Chuck Bednarik was one of many final true two-way gamers, taking part in linebacker and heart for the Philadelphia Eagles. An eight-time Professional Bowler and five-time First-Crew All-Professional, Bednarik led the Eagles to a championship in 1960 and was inducted into Canton in 1967. He additionally was a gunner on 30 missions in World Battle II and earned the Air Medal, 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, the European Theater Operations Medal, 4 Battle Stars and the Good Conduct Medal.


Yogi Berra

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Eighteen-time All-Star, 13-time champion and probably the most endearing baseball gamers in historical past, New York Yankees Corridor of Fame catcher Yogi Berra was a member of the U.S. Navy throughout World Battle II. Actually, Berra served as a gunner’s mate on the united statesBayfield in the course of the D-Day invasion.


Rocky Bleier

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After being drafted in 1968 out of Notre Dame, Steelers halfback Rocky Bleier was drafted into the Military and was despatched to Vietnam after his rookie season. He earned a Purple Coronary heart and Bronze Star after being wounded in motion, struggling gunshot and grenade accidents, and he finally returned to the Steelers in 1974. After preventing for a roster spot, Bleier went on to win 4 Tremendous Bowl rings.


Bill Bradley

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As an NBA champion, basketball Corridor of Fame inductee, Rhodes Scholar and former United States senator, Invoice Bradley has lived fairly a life. Misplaced, nonetheless, amongst all of Bradley’s unimaginable accomplishments is the truth that he was additionally a member of america Air Pressure Reserve from 1967 to 1978.


Ty Cobb

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The person who’s second all time on the MLB hit checklist with a complete of 4,191, Ty Cobb enlisted within the Chemical Corps department of america army in October 1918. Cobb served 67 days abroad within the Military earlier than receiving an honorable discharge and returning to the foremost leagues.


Roberto Clemente

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Pittsburgh Pirates Corridor of Famer Roberto Clemente is beloved within the baseball world and with good purpose. Though he appears to be remembered most for his tragic loss of life on a humanitarian mission, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Clemente was a Personal First Class within the Marine Corps for nearly 10 years of his baseball profession.


Jerry Coleman

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An All-Star in 1950 for the New York Yankees, Jerry Coleman is within the Corridor of Fame as a broadcaster for the Padres. He was a Marine pilot, becoming a member of in 1942, and flew 57 missions in a dive bomber. Of word, he was a bystander when Ted Williams crash-landed.


Joe DiMaggio

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New York Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio served within the U.S. Seventh Military Air Pressure from 1943-1945. The star that he was, DiMaggio was initially given preferential therapy — a lot so, that at one level DiMaggio demanded to see reside fight from his superiors. His request was denied. DiMaggio nonetheless holds the foremost league document for many consecutive video games with successful, at 56.


Larry Doby

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Doby was drafted in 1943 and served as bodily schooling coach within the Navy. A middle fielder for the Indians, Tigers and White Sox, Doby was inducted into the Corridor of Fame in 1998 by the Veteran’s Committee.


Art Donovan

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Artwork Donovan was a Corridor of Fame defensive lineman for the Colts. He additionally was a Marine throughout World Battle II, serving as a gunner. Well-known for his humorousness, Donovan grew to become a beloved determine in sports activities.


Bob Feller

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Simply two days after the assaults on Pearl Harbor, Corridor of Fame pitcher Bob Feller grew to become the primary American skilled athlete to enlist within the U.S. armed forces in response to the assaults. Feller served almost 4 years within the Navy as gun captain earlier than being honorably discharged as a chief petty officer. Upon returning to the American League in 1946, Feller picked up the place he left off, main the AL in strikeouts for 3 straight seasons.


Whitey Ford

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A ten-time All-Star and six-time champion with the New York Yankees, pitcher Whitey Ford served within the Military in the course of the Korean Battle from 1951 to 1952. The legendary southpaw had his greatest 12 months within the majors in 1961, when he received his one and solely Cy Younger Award and was named World Collection MVP.


Jack Dempsey

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A cultural icon throughout his time, boxer Jack Dempsey was World Heavyweight Champion from 1919 to 1926. After being labeled by some as a “slacker” for not enlisting in WWI (though he had tried to), Dempsey silenced any critics by enlisting within the U.S. Coast Guard in 1942 throughout World Battle II. Dempsey was honorably discharged in 1945.


Hank Greenberg

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Corridor of Fame Detroit Tigers first basemen Hank Greenberg missed out on 4 years of his profession as a baseball participant whereas serving within the Military in World Battle II. Actually, Greenberg was the primary participant within the American League to decide on to register for the draft. The 47 months Greenberg served as a sergeant are the longest any main league participant has served within the U.S. armed forces.


Chad Hennings

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Earlier than profitable three Tremendous Bowls with the Dallas Cowboys within the Nineteen Nineties, defensive deal with Chad Hennings served in america Air Pressure in the course of the Gulf Battle. Hennings was deployed twice within the battle and flew a complete of 45 missions earlier than being promoted to captain previous to his discharge.


Whitey Herzog

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Serving within the Korean Battle, Herzog missed the 1953 and ’54 seasons. That didn’t stop him from making the Corridor of Fame in 2010 as a Veteran’s Committee choice.


Monte Irvin

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One other Corridor of Famer drafted within the ’40s, Monte Irvin served within the U.S. Military. “Mr. Homicide” was a standout for the New York Giants, driving in 121 RBI in 1951, and he was inducted into Cooperstown in 1973.


Tim James

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A primary-round choose within the 1999 NBA Draft, ahead Tim James performed for the Miami Heat, Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers throughout his time within the NBA. After retiring from basketball, James enlisted within the Military and served within the Iraq Battle. Not wanting any particular therapy, he selected to not disclose his former profession as an NBA participant to his fellow troopers throughout his service.


Bobby Jones

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Bobby Jones joined the Military Air Forces throughout World Battle II and have become an intelligence officer. He left the service as a lieutenant colonel and have become probably the most well-known golfers ever, even co-founding the Masters.


Bob Kalsu

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Kalsu, an All-American deal with out of the College of Oklahoma, was drafted by Buffalo Bills in 1968, beginning for the group at guard and incomes group Rookie of the Yr honors. To satisfy his ROTC obligation, Kalsu was commissioned as a second lieutenant within the Military and arrived in Vietnam in November 1969 as a member of the one hundred and first Airborne Division, the place he tragically was killed in motion on July 21, 1970, within the A Shau Valley. Kalsu was one among solely two skilled soccer gamers to have misplaced their lives within the Vietnam Battle.


Nile Kinnick

The College of Iowa

1939 Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick appeared destined for professional success, although after being drafted out of Iowa, he opted to attend legislation faculty after which enlisted within the Navy to coach as a fighter pilot. Tragically he died on a coaching flight in 1943 making an attempt an emergency touchdown. The College of Iowa later honored Kinnick by naming its soccer stadium after him in 1972.


Joe Louis

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From 1937 to 1949, Joe Louis was boxing’s World Heavyweight Champion. Louis’ cultural influence was felt significantly outdoors of the ring as nicely, as throughout World Battle II Louis not solely enlisted within the Military, however he additionally spoke passionately in favor of the battle. The USA army (with Louis’ consent) used his fame to assist recruit new People to battle Nazi Germany. In 1945 Louis was awarded the Legion of Benefit by america for his “incalculable contribution to the overall morale.”


Rocky Marciano

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The undefeated heavyweight champ, Marciano truly started his boxing profession within the Military when he was drafted in 1943. He was shipped to France after D-Day and discharged in 1947 and went on to probably the most iconic boxing careers of all time.


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Christy Mathewson

Christy Mathewson

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After taking part in a Corridor of Fame baseball profession for the New York Giants, pitcher Christy Mathewson enlisted within the Military in 1918 to assist the battle in WWI. Mathewson served within the Chemical Providers alongside fellow Corridor of Fame participant Ty Cobb. After his service, Mathewson returned to teach the Giants in 1919.


Willie Mays

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Legendary Giants outfielder Willie Mays’ baseball résumé is solely superb. Mays was a 24-time All-Star, 12-time Gold Glove winner and two-time MVP, and he hit 660 homers in his profession. If these accolades weren’t superb sufficient, Mays would have with out query added to them had he not missed 266 video games in 1952 after being drafted into the Military to serve within the Korean Battle.


George McAfee

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Chicago Bears legend and Professional Soccer Corridor of Famer George McAfee was a flexible, explosive participant, and he dominated the 1941 season, posting 12 touchdowns in myriad methods: six speeding, three receiving, one punt return, one kick return and one interception return. How did he comply with up? A 3-year stint within the U.S. Navy throughout World Battle II from 1942-1945, probably lacking out on his greatest soccer years to serve his nation.


Bud Moore

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NASCAR Corridor of Famer Bud Moore had simply as many accomplishments in fight as he did as an proprietor on the racetrack. He was a part of the D-Day invasion at Utah Seashore and took half in 5 main battles in Europe. For his service he received two Bronze Stars and 5 Purple Hearts, serving to seize a German headquarters.


Stan Musial

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Stan the Man is likely one of the biggest hitters who ever lived, profitable three MVPs whereas batting .331 for his profession with 475 dwelling runs. He was first-class seaman within the Navy and was stationed at Pearl Harbor, the place he repaired ships. He was additionally honored with the 2010 Medal of Freedom.


Arnold Palmer

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Arnold Palmer will endlessly have a spot as one among golf’s all-time greats, although informal followers could not know that the King enlisted within the Coast Guard in 1950 as a yeoman and served three years in the course of the Korean Battle interval.


Pee Wee Reese

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Dodgers Corridor of Fame shortstop Pee Wee Reese served within the Navy throughout World Battle II from 1943 to 1946. Together with being a 10-time All-Star, Reese can be fondly remembered as being vocal in supporting his teammate Jackie Robinson in his profitable try to interrupt the colour barrier in skilled sports activities.


Phil Rizzuto

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Rizzuto served three years within the Navy with fellow nice Pee Wee Reese. He noticed fight within the Pacific Theater. Regardless of lacking three years of his profession, Rizzuto had a Corridor of Fame profession as a shortstop with the New York Yankees and have become a legendary announcer as nicely.


David Robinson

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Aptly nicknamed “The Admiral,” NBA Corridor of Fame heart David Robinson selected to attend america Naval Academy for his faculty years. Robinson ended up being the No. 1 choose of the 1987 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs, however as a consequence of his dedication to the Navy, Robinson served two years for his nation as a civil engineer earlier than becoming a member of the Spurs in 1989.


Jackie Robinson

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Not solely did Jackie Robinson have the braveness to interrupt the colour line in skilled sports activities, however he additionally had the braveness to serve within the Military as a second lieutenant. Sadly, Robinson’s army profession was derailed as a consequence of racial tensions, as he was almost court-martialed after refusing to present his seat up on a bus to a white officer. In the long run no authorized motion was taken by the army, and Robinson was given an honorable discharge in 1944.


Shauna Rohbock

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Shuana Rohbock has made her nation proud on two totally different ranges. Not solely is she a silver Olympic medalist in bobsled, however she can be at the moment a soldier within the U.S. Military Nationwide Guard. Rohbock received her silver medal within the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin within the two-women bobsled occasion.


Nolan Ryan

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MLB’s all-time strikeouts chief was enlisted within the Military Reserve, and his call-up in 1967 precipitated him to overlook that season with the Mets. He would return a 12 months later for his first actual season within the majors, and the remaining is historical past.


Tom Seaver

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A 12-time All-Star and three-time Cy Younger Award winner, Tom Seaver joined america Marine Corps in 1962 out of highschool. After serving one 12 months for the Marines posted in 29 Palms, California, Seaver went on to play baseball on the College of Southern California earlier than embarking on his Corridor of Fame profession.


Bill Sharman

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A champion as a participant, coach and government (10 whole) within the NBA, Invoice Sharman can be one among solely 4 males to be inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Corridor of Fame as a participant and a coach. The previous Celtics nice served from 1944 to 1946 within the Navy throughout World Battle II.


Enos Slaughter

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Enos Slaughter enlisted within the Air Pressure with the plan of being a pilot. Nevertheless, he came upon he was colorblind so he grew to become a bodily schooling teacher. As a Corridor of Fame outfielder, he received two World Collection with the Cardinals.


Duke Snider

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With 407 profession dwelling runs, Dodgers Corridor of Fame slugger Duke Snider additionally served 19 months in army. His major job was to scrub the dishes, and he by no means noticed fight.


Warren Spahn

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One of many biggest pitchers of the reside ball period, Warren Spahn selected to enlist in america Military in 1942 after taking part in one 12 months within the minors. Spahn noticed reside fight on the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded a Purple Coronary heart for his service. After leaving the army in 1946, Spahn would go on to win 363 video games in his Corridor of Fame profession.


Leon Spinks

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Boxer Leon Spinks is greatest often called the person who beat the legendary Muhammad Ali to win the World Heavyweight Title in 1978. On the time it was maybe the best upset in boxing historical past. What’s much less recognized, nonetheless, is that Spinks served on lively obligation for america Marine Corps from 1973 to 1976.


Roger Staubach

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback and Corridor of Famer Roger Staubach performed his faculty soccer at america Naval Academy. Staubach is well the best soccer participant in Navy historical past, as he almost led the Midshipmen to a nationwide championship in 1963 (completed second within the AP) and received the Heisman Trophy that very same 12 months.


Pat Tillman

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Most all of us know the story of Pat Tillman. After the assaults on 9/11, Tillman, a security for the Arizona Cardinals taking part in on a multimillion-dollar contract, selected to surrender soccer and enlist in america Military. He was killed in action serving in Afghanistan in 2004. Though a lot controversy has been raised over the previous decade in regards to the nature of his loss of life, there isn’t a one who questions Tillman and his love and devotion to his nation.


Lee Trevino

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Corridor of Fame golfer Lee Trevino not solely received six majors, however he additionally was a Marine. He joined when he turned 17 and have become a lance corporal as a machine gunner.


Jesse Ventura

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Former skilled wrestler, actor and governor of Minnesota, Jesse “The Physique” Ventura served within the Navy from 1969 to 1975 in the course of the Vietnam Battle. Ventura served in lively fight as a part of Underwater Demolition Crew 12. He was awarded the Nationwide Protection Service Medal.


47 of fifty

Alejandro Villanueva

Alejandro Villanueva

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Former Military Ranger Alejandro Villanueva almost had his NFL dream ended after he was minimize by the Eagles in the summertime of 2014, however a preseason recreation in opposition to the interstate rival Steelers noticed coach Mike Tomlin impressed by the 6-foot-9 defensive finish. Villanueva, who served three excursions in Afghanistan after attending West Level, was embellished for bravery, incomes a Bronze Star for rescuing fellow troopers whereas beneath enemy fireplace.


Hoyt Wilhelm

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Hoyt Wilhelm loved a 21-year, Corridor of Fame profession pitching for a number of groups as a difficult knuckleballer. He notched 143 profession victories general. He additionally joined the Military in 1942 and was wounded on the Battle of the Bulge. Wilhelm earned a Purple Coronary heart as a workers sergeant and was inducted into Cooperstown in 1985.


Ted Williams

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When baseball followers discuss in regards to the biggest gamers ever, it’s usually forgotten that Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams missed out on seven prime years of his profession when he selected to serve in america Marine Corps throughout each World Battle II and the Korean Battle. “The Biggest Hitter Who Ever Lived” received his first AL MVP award and performed in his solely World Collection upon his return to the majors in 1946.


John Wooden

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Though he was by no means an expert athlete, his accomplishments as a coach make him worthy of constructing an look on this checklist. Thought-about by many to be the best basketball coach of all time, former UCLA head coach John Wood served three years within the Navy as a lieutenant throughout World Battle II. Coach Wood received an incredible 12 faculty basketball championships at UCLA.

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