FOOTBALL AND AMERICA: The Korean War


FOURTEEN NFL PLAYERS SERVED DURING WWII AND KOREAN WAR

Among those NFL players who were on active duty during World War II, fourteen are known to have returned to military service during the Korean War.

Joe Bartos

 Joe Bartos began his military career at Annapolis during WWII. He joined the Washington Redskins in 1950 and played in nine games before returning to active duty in 1951. Bartos earned the Silver Star while serving in Korea.

Lloyd Baxter served in the Marine Corps during WWII in the South Pacific and China theaters. Drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 1945, his military commitment kept him out of pro ball until 1948, at which time he played 11 games at center with the Pack. Baxter returned to active duty in 1951.

Cloyce Box

 Cloyce Box joined the Detroit Lions as a 26-year-old rookie in 1949, following a four-year tour of duty with the Marines during World War II. After two seasons with the Lions, the end/halfback was recalled to active duty and served with distinction in Korea. He returned to pro football in 1952 and played three more seasons with the Lions.

Bill "Spot" Collins, served three years with the Marines during World War II. Upon completing his tour of duty, he returned to the University of Texas for one final season. The 5-8 guard, played one season in the pros with the 1947 Boston Yanks. Collins, a Marine reservist, was recalled to active duty in 1951, and served in Korea.

Jim Cullom joined the Marines during World War II when he was 18 years old. Upon his discharge he went on to the University of California where he played football as a guard. Drafted by the Washington Redskins in 1950, he played two games with the 1951 New York Yanks, before being recalled to active duty and serving in Korea.

Wally Dreyer, a two-way back, played two seasons in the NFL with the Chicago Bears in 1949 and the Green Bay Packers one year later. Prior to joining the Bears, he served more than three years with the Marines during World War II. He returned to active duty in 1951.

Bob Forte

 Bob Forte was an Army tank officer during World War II. A versatile football player he played seven years with the Green Bay Packers following his discharge in 1945. His pro football career, however, was interrupted in 1951 when he returned to active military duty to serve in Korea. Forte, following his second discharge from active duty, returned to the Packers for two additional seasons.

Ralph Heywood is the only NFL player to serve in World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Upon his discharge from active duty following WWII, he began a four-year pro football career with the All-America Football Conference's Chicago Rockets (1946), the NFL's Detroit Lions (1947-1948), Boston Yanks (1948), and New York Bulldogs (1949). A reservist, he returned to active duty in 1952, during the Korean War, and later commanded the 26th Marines in Vietnam.

Weldon Humble, after serving with the Marines during World War II, began a five-year pro football career in 1947 as a member of the Cleveland Browns. An All-AAFC choice in 1948, Humble was recalled to active duty following the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950. He returned to pro football for a final season with the 1952 Dallas Texans.

Art McCaffray, was an All-America guard at Pacific in 1943 as a Marine V-12 trainee. Following his discharge from active duty, he signed with the 1946 Pittsburgh Steelers. In 1950, after being recalled to active duty, he was among those who were mobilized for the Korean War.

Joe Signaigo served in the Pacific theater during World War II. Following his discharge from active duty he signed with the 1948 New York Yankees of the All-America Football Conference, where he played for two seasons. He then joined the NFL's New York Yanks in 1950, before being recalled to active duty in 1951.

John Steber

 John Steber was a Navy lieutenant for three and a half years during World War II, before joining the Washington Redskins in 1946. The 6-0 225-pound lineman was the Redskins' seventh-round draft pick in 1945 and played five seasons with the Skins. In 1951 he was recalled to active duty and participated in the Korean action.

Walter Szot was in the Marine Corps for three years, serving in the South Pacific, prior to joining the Chicago Cardinals in 1946. Szot played for the Cardinals until 1948 at which time he joined the Pittsburgh Steelers for two seasons. In 1951, the 31-year-old Marine reservist was recalled to active duty.

Walter Williams served three years as a Marine in the South Pacific during World War II before joining the Chicago Rockets of the AAFC in 1946. In 1948, Williams joined the NFL's Boston Yanks. After being recalled to active military status, Williams went on to distinguish himself in Korea and was awarded the Bronze Star.