Gridiron Glory – The National Football League’s World War II Losses
World War II claimed the lives of 23 NFL men – 21 active or former players, an ex-head coach and a team executive. Listed below are the NFL personnel killed during the war.
Cpl. Mike Basca (HB, Philadelphia, 1941) – Killed in France 1944
Lt. Charlie Behan (E, Detroit, 1942) – Killed on Okinawa, 1945
Maj. Keith Birlem (E, Cardinals-Washington, 1939) – Killed trying to land a combat-damaged bomber in England, 1943
Lt. Al Blozis (T, Giants, 1942-1944) – Killed in France
Lt. Chuck Braidwood (e, Portsmouth-Cleveland-Cardinals-Cinncinati, 1930-1933) – Member of the Red Cross. Killed in the South Pacific, 1944
Lt. Young Bussey (QB, Bears, 1940-1941) – Killed in the Philippines landing assault, 1944
Lt. Jack Chevigney (Coach, Cardinals, 1932) – Killed on Iwo Jima, 1945
Capt. Ed Doyle (E, Frankford-Pottsville, 1924-1925) – Killed during North Africa invasion, 1942
Lt. Col. Grasst Hinton (B, Staten Island, 1932) – Killed in a plane crash in the East Indies, 1944
Capt. Smiley Johnson (G, Green Bay, 1940-1941) – Killed on Iwo Jima, 1945
Lt. Eddie Kahn (G, Boston/Washington, 1935-1937) – Died from wounds suffered during Leyte invasion, 1945
Sgt Alex Ketzko (T, Detroit, 1943) – Killed in France, 1944
Capt. Lee Kizzire (FB, Detroit, 1937) – Shot down near New Guinea, 1943
Lt. Jack Lummus (E, Giants, 1941) – Killed on Iwo Jima, 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, 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 war-related illness at Bethesda Naval Hospital, 1944
Lt. Len Supulski (E, Philadelphia, 1942) – Killed in plane crash in Nebraska, 1944
Lt. Don Wemple (E, Brooklyn, 1941) – Killed in a plane crash in India, 1944
Lt. Chet Wetterlund (HB, Cardinals-Detroit, 1942) – Killed in plane crash off New Jersey coast, 1944
Capt. Waddy Young (E, Brooklyn, 1939-1940) – Killed in a plane crash following first B-29 raid on Tokyo, 1945
All information courtesy of the Pro-Football Hall of Fame.
On display through May 5, Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame presents a panoramic view of the story of professional football — from its humble beginnings in the late 19th century to the cultural phenomenon it is today — and brings together an extraordinary collection of artifacts, while creating an unforgettable interactive experience. The Hall of Fame has partnered with NFL Films in creating the audio and video for this exhibit.
The exhibition — a cornerstone event in the multi-year celebration of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary — is the most extensive and comprehensive exhibition featuring America’s most popular sport ever to tour.
In addition to an exclusive display of WWII-era NFL artifacts, this exhibition of Gridiron Glory also includes historic items related to the New Orleans Saints.