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26 Former NFL players have lost their lives serving our country; Let’s remember them

Bob Kalsu died in the Vietnam war, but will always go down as a true hero in the City of Buffalo.

Bob Kalsu died in the Vietnam war, but will always go down as a true hero in the City of Buffalo.

Memorial Day is a tough day for many military families who have lost their loved ones while they were defending our country.  The NFL is an amazing sport, but several former players have died serving our country.  Here is a tribute to all the former NFL players that died serving our country. 

Gil Brandt    @Gil_Brandt
1) 226 men with NFL playing time served in the Korean war 2) 23 Former NFL players lost their lives in WW2

World War II

Cpl. Mike Basca (HB, Philadelphia, 1941)—Killed in France in 1944 

Lt. Charlie Behan (E, Detroit, 1942)—Killed in Okinawa in 1945

Maj. Keith Birlem (E, Cardinals-Washington, 1939)—Killed in England in 1943

Lt. Al Blozis (T, Giants, 1942-1944)—Killed in France in 1945

Lt. Chuck Braidwood (E, Portsmouth-Cleveland-Cardinals-Cincinnati, 1930-1933)—Killed in South Pacific in 1944

Lt. Young Bussey (QB, Bears, 1940-1941)—Killed in Philippines in 1944

Lt. Jack Chevigny (Coach, Cardinals, 1932)—Killed on Iwo Jima in 1945

Capt. Ed Doyle (E, Frankford-Pottsville, 1924-1925)—Killed in North Africa in 1942

Lt. Col. Grassy Hinton (B, Staten Island, 1932)—Killed 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 in Leyte in 1945

Sgt. Alex Ketzko (T, Detroit, 1943)—Killed in France in 1944

Capt. Lee Kizzire (FB, Detroit, 1937)—Killed in New Guinea in 1943

Lt. Jack Lummus (E, Giants, 1941)—Killed on Iwo Jima in 1945

Bob Mackert (rank unknown) (T, Rochester Jeffersons, 1925)—location of death unknown

Frank Maher (rank unknown) (B, Pittsburgh-Cleveland Rams, 1941)—location of death unknown

Pvt. Jim Mooney (E-G-FB, Newark-Brooklyn-Cincinnati-St. Louis-Cardinals, 1930-1937)—Killed in France in 1944

Lt. John O’Keefe (Front office, Philadelphia)—Killed in Panama (date unknown)

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 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 Tokyo in 1945


Lt. Bob Kalsu (G, Buffalo, 1968)—Killed  while defending Base Ripcord in 1970

Maj. Don Steinbrunner (T, Cleveland Browns, 1953)—Killed in South Vietnam in 1967

Pat Tillman was the most recent player killed in war, and he was a true hero

Pat Tillman was the most recent player killed in war, and he was a true hero

War in the Middle East

Cpl. Pat Tillman (DB, Arizona, 1998-2001)—Killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004

So today when you are barbecuing and drinking, remember the true war heroes that die daily fighting for our country and our independence. May God protect our Troops everywhere and ensure they come home alive.  #ThankYou #TEAMDIAMONDHEROES 

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at [email protected]

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