Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Athletes Who Served’ Category


Pvt Joe Garagiola US Army (Served 1944-1946)

joe-garagiolaView the service history of catcher and sportcaster

Pvt Joe Garagiola

US Army

(Served 1944-1946)

View his Service Profile on


Short Bio: Joseph H “Joe” Garagiola was born on February 12, 1926 in St Louis, Missouriand grew up with Yogi Berra. Garagiola was 16 when the St Louis Cardinals signed him in 1942 and sent him to Springfield of the Class C Western Association where he batted .254.

Garagiola advanced to Columbus of the Class AA American Association in 1943 and was with them when he was called into military service on April 24, 1944. After taking basic training at Jefferson Barracks, Missouri, Garagiola was sent toFort Riley, Kansas, where he quickly established himself as the catcher for the Fort Riley Centaurs with teammates Rex Barney and Pete Reiser.

Garagiola was sent to the Philippines in 1945 where he played ball for Kirby Higbe’s Manila Dodgers. He was discharged from service in early 1946.

Garagiola passed away Mar 23, 2016 at the age of 90.


View the service history of Baseball Legend

yogiS1c “Yogi” Berra

US Navy

(Served 1943-1946)

View his Service Profile on at

Short Bio: In the wartime spring of 1943, a 17-year-old baseball hopeful named Lawrence Peter Berra didn’t know quite what to expect. The stumpy, moon-faced kid better known as Yogi was getting his first taste of professional baseball, a $90-a-month neophyte with the Norfolk (Va.) Tars of the Class B Piedmont League. “Yogi” decided to volunteer for a new kind of Navy boat, called the Landing Craft Support Small (LCSS) Rocket Launcher and found himself off the Normandy coast on D-Day.


PFC Art Donovan US Marine Corps (Served 1943-1945)

View the service history of Football Hall of Famer:

art-donovanPFC Art Donovan

US Marine Corps

(Served 1943-1945)

View his Service Profile on

Short Bio: During World War II, he served on active duty from Donavan1943 to 1945, and participated in significant combat operations in the Pacific. Donovan served as a antiaircraft gun crewman aboard the USS San Jacinto where he saw action in the following major raids and battles; Caroline Islands, Leyte Gulf, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and Luzon.


SP4 Rocky Bleier US Army (Served 1968-1971)

View the military service of Football Great:

rockySP4 Rocky Bleier

US Army

(Served 1968-1971)

View his service profile on

Short Bio: Served in Vietnam. Was drafted in December 1968. He volunteered for duty in the Vietnam War and shipped out in May 1969, serving with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. On August 20, while on patrol in Heip Duc, Bleier was wounded in the left thigh by a rifle bullet when his platoon was ambushed in a rice paddy. While down, an enemy grenade landed nearby after bouncing off a fellow soldier, sending shrapnel into his lower right leg. He was later awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.


View the Military Service of Baseball Legend

jackie robinson2LT Jackie Robinson

US Army

(Served 1942-1944)
Shadow Box:

Short Bio: Hall of Fame Major League Baseball Player, Social Reformer. Famed baseball player and civil rights advocate who became the first African-American to play in modern major league baseball.

An event on July 6, 1944, derailed Robinson’s military career. While awaiting results of hospital tests on the ankle he had injured in junior college, Robinson boarded an Army bus with a fellow officer’s wife; although the Army had commissioned its own unsegregated bus line, the bus driver ordered Robinson to move to the back of the bus. Robinson refused. The driver backed down, but after reaching the end of the line, summoned the military police, who took Robinson into custody. When Robinson later confronted the investigating duty officer about racist questioning by the officer and his assistant, the officer recommended Robinson be court-martialed. After Robinson’s commander in the 761st, Paul L. Bates, refused to authorize the legal action, Robinson was summarily transferred to the 758th Battalion  where the commander quickly consented to charge Robinson with multiple offenses, including, among other charges, public drunkenness, even though Robinson did not drink. By the time of the court-martial in August 1944, the charges against Robinson had been reduced to two counts of insubordination during questioning. Robinson was acquitted by an all-white panel of nine officers. The experiences Robinson was subjected to during the court proceedings would be remembered when he later joined MLB and was subjected to racist attacks. Although his former unit, the 761st Tank Battalion, became the first black tank unit to see combat in World War II, Robinson’s court-martial proceedings prohibited him from being deployed overseas, thus he never saw combat action. After his acquittal, he was transferred to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, where he served as a coach for army athletics until receiving an honorable discharge in November 1944.



1stLt Patty Berg US Marine Corps (Served 1942-1945)


View the service history of LPGA Legend:

1stLt Patty Berg

US Marine Corps


Shadow Box

Short Bio:Patricia J. Berg started playing golf at the age of fourteen. Two years later she won the Minneapolis City Championship and at eighteen she was the state amateur champion. Winning twenty-nine titles in seven years, including the 1938 U. S. Amateur, and she was easily the most famous female golfer in the country.

Berg joined the Marine Corps in 1943. She was a Procurement Officer with the Eastern Procurement Division in Philadelphia, PA until 1945.


LCpl Lee Trevino US Marine Corps (Served 1956-1960)

View the Military Service of Golf Legend:

trevinoLCpl Lee Trevino

US Marine Corps

(Served 1956-1960)

View his Service Profile on at

Short Bio: Trevino was born into poverty and never knew his father. He was raised by his mother and his grandfather, a gravedigger. Lee began working at a very early age, toiling in the Texas cotton fields as young as age 5.

But when an uncle gave him a rusty golf club and a few beat-up balls, the young Trevino found his calling. He began caddying at age eight, sometimes attending school but more often working or practicing golf.

At age 17, Trevino joined the Marines and served four years. Following his discharge, he returned to golf, becoming a club pro in 1960.


Capt Billy Mills US Marine Corps (Served 1962-1971)

Mills.Billy2.JPGView the military service of Olympian, Humanitarian

Capt Billy Mills

US Marine Corps

(Served 1962-1971)
Shadow Box:

Short Bio: In 1964, Billy Mills provided one of those moments for the past millennium. The U.S. runner pulled off one of the greatest, if not the greatest, upset in Olympic history by winning the 10,000-meter run at the Tokyo Summer Games. Mills’ path to the Marine Corps, as well as the Olympics, was littered with road blocks of poverty and racism. Mills, was born an Oglala Sioux on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation, traditionally one of the most impoverished in America.


1stLt Tom Harmon US Army Air Force (1941-1945)

View the military service of Heisman Trophy Winner/Sportscaster:

tom harmon1stLt Tom Harmon

US Army Air Force

(Served 1941-1945)

Shadow Box:

Short Bio: Twice during World War II he was reported missing in action. In April 1943 he crashed into the jungles of Dutch Guiana, which is now Suriname, and marched alone through swamps and rain forests four days before he was rescued by natives.

(Veterans – record and share your own service story with friends and family by joining This is a free service)


PFC Ernie Banks US Army (1951-1953)

View the Military Service of Baseball Hall of Famer:

ernie banks2PFC Ernie Banks

US Army


Shadow Box:

Short Bio: A native of Dallas, Texas, 19-year-old Ernie Banks debuted for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro leagues in 1950. After two years in the Army, Banks returned to the Monarchs, who sold his contract to the Chicago Cubs in 1953. His debut on September 17th marked the first appearance of an African-American player for the franchise.

(Veterans – view more military profiles of famous people on
%d bloggers like this: