• The National WWII Museum Blog
dividing bar

Gridiron Glory – The National Football League’s World War II Losses

dividing bar

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.

dividing bar

Leave a Reply

  • (Your email address will not be published.)
dividing bar