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Athletes Who Are Military Heroes

By * Power
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Athletes who were military heroes represent some of the bravest men and women to ever play professional sports. These Americans gave up the fame and fortune that would have come with being a professional athlete to serve their country. Many sacrificed more than that, giving up their lives on the front lines of World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War and the War in Iraq.

The military hero athletes on this list undoubtably include many names you know as sports stars first and soldiers second or vice versa but each has a story behind their service in the United States Armed Forces.

For some, that story includes leaving professional sports at the peak of their career to serve their country during wartime, such as legendary baseball player Bob Feller, boxer Joe Louis and baseball great Joe DiMaggio. These athletes can be considered military heroes.

Others, such as basketball star David Robinson and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Art Donovan, their military service came before their professional sports careers as they were fortunate enough to return from battle healthy enough to continue.

Sadly, many were not so lucky. In one of the more recent cases, up and coming Arizona Cardinals football player Pat Tillman left the NFL shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to become a U.S. Army Ranger. Tillman made the ultimate sacrifice when he was killed in action in April 2004.

These notable athletes who served in the military may not have all been the best of their respective sports and may not have all been decorated soldiers but each of these fine men and women should be thanked for their service nonetheless.
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  1. 1

    Pat Tillman

    Pat Tillman is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Athletes Who Are Military Heroes
    Photo: Cedward Brice/Flickr
    more ABOUT
    • Profession: Athlete, American football player
    • Age: Died at 28 (1976-2004)
    • Birthplace: Fremont, California, United States of America
    • Schools: Arizona State University, Leland High School
    • Cause Of Death: Friendly fire, Firearm, Gunshot
    • Place Of Death: Spera, Khost Province, Afghanistan
  2. 2
    Roger Staubach is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Are Military Heroes
    Photo: user uploaded image
    more ABOUT
    • Profession: American football player
    • Age: 73
    • Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    • Schools: New Mexico Military Institute, Purcell Marian High School, United States Naval Academy
  3. 3

    Bob Feller

    Bob Feller is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Are Military Heroes
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY
    more ABOUT
    • Profession: Baseball player, Sailor
    • Age: Died at 92 (1918-2010)
    • Birthplace: Van Meter, Iowa, United States of America
    • Schools: Van Meter Elementary School
    • Cause Of Death: Leukemia
    • Place Of Death: Cleveland, Ohio, United States of America
    • Children: Bruce Feller, Martin Feller, Steven Feller
  4. 4

    Jack Lummus

    Jack Lummus is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Are Military Heroes
    Photo: Freebase/Public domain
    more ABOUT
    • Profession: American football player
    • Age: Died at 30 (1915-1945)
    • Birthplace: Texas, United States of America
    • Schools: Baylor University, Texas Military College
    • Cause Of Death: Killed in action
    • Place Of Death: Iwo Jima, Japan
  5. 5

    Bob Kalsu

    more ABOUT
    • Profession: American football player
    • Age: Died at 25 (1945-1970)
    • Birthplace: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States of America
    • Schools: University of Oklahoma
    • Place Of Death: Thừa Thiên–Huế Province, Vietnam
    • Children: James Robert Kalsu Jr.
  6. 6
    Yogi Berra is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Athletes Who Are Military Heroes
    Photo: user uploaded image
    more ABOUT
    • Profession: Manager, Baseball player, Coach, Actor, Writer
    • Age: 90
    • Birthplace: The Hill, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America
    • Children: Dale Berra, Tim Berra, Larry Berra
  7. 7
    Ted Williams is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Athletes Who Are Military Heroes
    Photo: Freebase/CC-BY-SA
    more ABOUT
    • Profession: Pilot, Baseball player
    • Age: Died at 84 (1918-2002)
    • Birthplace: USA, California, San Diego
    • Schools: Hoover High School
    • Cause Of Death: Cardiovascular disease
    • Place Of Death: Inverness, Florida, United States of America
  8. 8

    Warren Spahn

    Warren Spahn is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Athletes Who Are Military Heroes
    Photo: user uploaded image
    more ABOUT
    • Profession: Baseball player
    • Age: Died at 82 (1921-2003)
    • Birthplace: Buffalo, New York, United States of America
    • Schools: South Park High School
    • Place Of Death: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, United States of America
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