NFL Players that Gave the Ultimate Sacrifice

A lot of times you hear professional football compared to war, I think this comparison is absolutely asinine! Marv Levy when asked before yet another Super Bowl  if it was a must win shook his head and said no World War II was a must win. So on this day when we celebrate America’s true heroes I have compiled a list of the men who have lost their lives fighting for our freedom. Sure you probably have never heard of most of these brave men, but these men gave the ultimate sacrifice for us.

So instead of writing an article about men that play a game, today will just be a list of NFL players who died in combat, even though you may not know the names please read them because they should truly not be forgotten.

  • 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. Chuck Braidwood (E, Portsmouth-Cleveland-Cardinals-Cincinnati, 1930-1933) – Member of Red Cross. Killed in South Pacific, winter 1944-1945
  • 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
  • Lt. John O’Keefe (Front office, Philadelphia) – Killed flying a patrol mission in Panama Canal Zone
  • 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 (G, Buffalo, 1968) – Killed in an attack while defending Base Ripcord on July 21, 1970
  • Maj. Don Steinbrunner (T, Cleveland Browns, 1953) – Shot down over Kontum, South Vietnam on July 20, 1967
  • Cpl. Pat Tillman (DB, Arizona, 1998-2001) – Killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004