Special Report

Greatest Athletes Who Served in the US Military

Rocky Bleier
> Branch of service: Army
> Served: 1969-1971
> Sport NFL
> Position, team(s): Running back: Pittsburgh Steelers
> Accolades: 4x Super Bowl champion

Rocky Bleier is best known as a four-time Super Bowl champion with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s. But the fact that he was able to play pro football at all is astounding. Bleier was injured by a grenade while serving in the Vietnam War. Doctors told Bleier his career was over, but he battled through the injury to become a key piece of the Steelers’ 1970s dynasty.

Source: Keystone / Getty Images

Rocky Marciano
> Branch of service: Army
> Served: 1943-1946
> Sport Boxing
> Position, team(s): N/A
> Accolades: World heavyweight champion

Rocky Marciano may have never become a heavyweight champion had he not been drafted into the Army. After dropping out of high school, Marciano worked a series of odd jobs before being drafted in 1943. He helped ship supplies to allied forces across the English Channel. Just before being discharged, he won the 1946 Amateur Armed Forces boxing tournament. He had his first professional fight the next year, and by 1952, he was heavyweight champion and won 49 straight bouts.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Roger Staubach
> Branch of service: Navy
> Served: 1965-1969
> Sport NFL
> Position, team(s): Quarterback: Dallas Cowboys
> Accolades: 6x Pro Bowl, 2x Super Bowl champion, Hall of Fame

Though he won the Heisman Trophy at the Naval Academy, Roger Staubach nearly skipped pro football entirely. Staubach honored his four-year commitment to the Navy, including a year of service in Vietnam, and nearly stayed in the military full time, but he realized he missed playing football. He joined the Dallas Cowboys, leading the team to two Super Bowl titles.

Source: Harry How / Getty Images

Shauna Rohbock
> Branch of service: Army National Guard
> Served: 2000-present
> Sport Bobsled
> Position, team(s): Driver: Team USA
> Accolades: 2006 Olympic silver medal

Shauna Rohbock has dedicated her life to her country. In addition to a brief stint as a pro soccer player, she was part of the USA’s women’s bobsled team. She won a silver medal in the 2006 Olympic Games and competed in the 2010 games as well. These achievements all came while Rohbock also served in the Utah Army National Guard. She now coaches aspiring American Olympians while also serving on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition.

Source: Ezra Shaw / Getty Images

Stan Musial
> Branch of service: Navy
> Served: 1945-1946
> Sport MLB
> Position, team(s): Outfield: St. Louis Cardinals
> Accolades: 3x MVP, 7x Batting title, Hall of Fame

Just after winning the NL MVP in 1943 and 1944 World Series, Stan Musial left behind his MLB career to enlist in the Navy. While stationed at Pearl Harbor, Musial helped bring damaged ships back into port and provide a diversion for battle-weary sailors by playing baseball in the 14th Naval District League. In 1946, his first season back from service, Musial picked up where he left off, hitting .365 and winning MVP.