During War time not only athletes like Ted Williams, actors like Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart but boxers Barney Ross, Joe “The Brown Bomber” Louis and “Sugar” Ray Robinson served in the military!
On this Veteran’s Day may they all be remembered for their sacrifices. Boxers WBO Heavyweight champ Ray “Merciless” Mercer, IBF Cruiserweight champ Al “Ice” Cole and Wesley Watson served together in the 82nd Airborne.
On “D” Day former featherweight, lightweight and welterweight world boxing champion Barney Ross was remembered as one of the most decorated boxers in the history of the game.
After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, Ross enlisted in the US Marines and became a much decorated veteran. He was 32 years-old and had to obtain a special waiver on the usual requirement that Marines be 30 or under.
Although he was assigned to work as a boxing instructor, he requested that he be sent into combat. He was sent to Guadalcanal Island, one of the most brutal U.S. military engagements against the Japanese.
On November 19, 1942, Ross and three comrades were attacked by Japanese troops while on patrol. His three fellow Marines were wounded and Ross shepherded them into a crater where he protected them throughout the night. He fired over 200 rounds of ammunition and was credited with killing seven Japanese snipers and ten probables. By the morning, two of his colleagues had died and though wounded, he managed to carry the sole survivor to safety. For his brave efforts, Ross received the Silver Star, Purple Heart, and a Presidential Citation.
Louis gave up over thirty months of his boxing career and had twenty-five title defenses and probably may have had thirty if not for serving. Robinson served but three months later he fell down a flight of steps and injured his head. He was released from the Army on an honorable discharge.