Sports

40 Pro Athletes Who Served On Active Duty

Darren - September 2, 2019
Sports

40 Pro Athletes Who Served On Active Duty

Darren - September 2, 2019

Mandatory Credit: Toledo Blade

5. Phil Rizzuto

The New York Yankees Icon spent 13 years in the MLB, where he played as a shortstop. One of the best bunters in the history of the game, ‘The Scooter’ was extremely popular and one of the slickest players of his generation. But, like many baseballers, Rizzuto found his career interrupted by World War Two.

Mandatory Credit: Toledo Blade

He’d serve in the navy from 1943 until the end of the war in 1945. Rizzuto also contracted malaria while in the Pacific. Finally, the navy sent him to Australia to recover. There, he spent the rest of the war coaching the US Navy Baseball team. His service ended well because he was able to enjoy a lot of downtime.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. Jack Dempsey

A cultural icon, Jack Dempsey was the heavyweight champion of the world from 1919 to 1926. His aggressive fighting style and ferocious punching power made him one of the most popular boxers in history. Furthermore, he was so popular that his fight against George Carpentier was the first $1 million gate.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Dempsey served in the US National Guard from 1942. When World War 1 went down, fans criticized him for not enlisting. But he bowed to the pressure and enlisted. As a result, he was present on the USS Wakefield for the invasion of Okinawa in 1945. The navy released him from active duty the following year, but he remained in reserve until 1952.

Mandatory Credit: Behind the Shield

3. Tim Kennedy

MMA fighters are a special kind of tough but Tim Kennedy takes this to the extreme. The former UFC middleweight contender servedn the National Guard while fighting at the highest level of combat sports. Then he signed up with the US Special Forces in 2004. This forced him to balance his professional fighting career alongside overseas deployment and military duties.

Behind the Shield

Kennedy left active duty in 2009 before returning to the Green Berets in 2017, where he remains today. The Bronze Star for valor under fire award is one of his proudest accomplishments from his career. Meanwhile, the highlight of his combat sports career was when he headlined the UFC Fight for the Troops event in 2013, where he beat Rafael Natal.

Mandatory Credit: Bleacher Report

2. Whitey Ford

Whitey Ford spent 16 years with the New York Yankees and boy, they were some incredible years. A 1o-time MLB All-Star and six-time World Series Champion, Ford also led the American League in wins three times and in earned run average (ERA) twice. Because of all these achievements, the Hall-of-Famer is one of the sport’s most legendary figures.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Ford also served in the army during the Korean War. He spent two years in his nation’s service from 1951 to 1952. After completing his tour, he promptly returned to New York to become one of baseball’s best-ever players. That’s how you do it, ladies and gentlemen.

Mandatory Credit: Teen Truth

1. Caleb Campbell

Lieutenant Caleb Campbell is a serving member of the US Army. Furthermore, he was also a former linebacker for the Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, and Kansas City Chiefs. But he struggled to balance a career at the top of the game in NFL alongside his military commitment. Campbell’s story is interesting because it was a wonder he even made it to the NFL.

Mandatory Credit: YouTube

Campbell looked like he was going to benefit from a rule change that allowed top military athletes to participate in a professional sport of their choice if they gave two years of service and remained in reserve. However, the day after he signed a contract with the Detroit Lions, the rules changed again. This was a devastating blow for Campbell but a reminder that military servitude is a massive commitment.

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