A new exhibit from the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, entitled “Call of Duty: Sports Stars and Servicemen,” tells the stories of Hall of Famers that served in the United States Armed Forces. Included in the exhibit are the military careers of Dallas Cowboys Head Coach Tom Landry, who served as a bomber pilot and flew thirty combat missions in World War II; golf legend Lloyd Mangrum, who served in Patton’s Third Army and was involved in the D-Day Invasion and the Battle of the Bulge; former lightweight boxing champion Lew Jenkins, who enlisted in the armed forces three times and served in World War II, Burma, and Korea; and former TCU All-American running back Jim Swink, who served as a combat surgeon in a MASH unit during the Vietnam War; among many other Hall of Famers’ military careers. Objects in the exhibit include Texas A&M’s famous track coach Frank “Col. Andy” Anderson’s commission as a colonel from the President of the United States; Jim Swink’s announcement from the army that he would be receiving a medal for his actions in a combat zone; Hall of Fame head coach J.V. “Siki” Sikes’s Navy jacket; and other military items such as a Vietnam flight helmet, World War I bayonet, Mae West life preserver, World War II pocket guides to the China-Burma-India theater, canned rations, program covers from college football games dedicated to war efforts, and more.
PARTIAL LIST OF TSHOF MEMBERS WHO SERVED IN THE ARMED FORCES
K.S. "Bud" Adams Jr.
In 1942, while still in school at Kansas, Adams joined the U.S. Naval Reserve. In July 1943, he was called to active duty in the Navy's V-12 college program, which allowed him to continue in school. In early 1944, he received orders to report to Midshipman Officer Specialty School at Notre Dame where he earned his Navy ensign commission in an accelerated 60-day program. He was sent overseas and was assigned to a PAC-Fleet carrier unit, where he served as an aviation engineering officer. He returned to the U.S. in December 1945. Lt. j.g. Adams served as an aide in the U.S. Navy's Congressional Liaison Office in Washington, D.C. prior to his discharge in 1946.
Wilmer Allison (Tennis)
Military Service: Ordered to active duty with Air Force in early 1941. Promoted to major in 1942; Lt. Col in 1943; Col in 1944; Commanded two different AF Communication Wings; returned to inactive duty in 1946; retired 1957.
*Frank “Col. Andy” Anderson (Track)
Military Career: Anderson is one of only two Texas Sports Hall of Famers to serve active duty in both World War I and World War II. The famed Texas A&M track and field coach served as a captain of field artillery in World War I and by the end of the war, the Army promoted him to major for his field work in Europe. After thirteen years of coaching, the Army called him back into active duty for World War II, and promoted him to colonel of field artillery. During WWII, Anderson also served as the Commandant of the Corps of Cadets and Dean of Men at A&M.
Alfred (Red) Barr (Swimming)
Military Service: Joined the Navy; coached swimming and water-survival training at the Georgia Navy Pre-Flight school.
Matty Bell (Football)
Military Service: 1942-45, Navy
Dana X. Bible (Football)
Military Service: WWI pilot in 1918
Bibb Falk (Baseball)
Military Service: USAAC in WWII for 3 years as director of athletics at the base in SA
*Jack Gray (Basketball)
Military Career: Jack Gray’s coaching career at the University of Texas was interrupted by three years of military service in the Navy during World War II. At first, Gray was the physical training director and coach of the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station basketball team but the Navy soon transferred him to air craft carriers in the Pacific theater, where he served on the USS Sangamon. During his time on the Sangamon, Gray achieved the rank of Lieutenant Commander and earned five Service Stars and a Presidential Unit Citation.
Howard Grubbs (Football – SWC Commissioner)
Military Service: Officer in Navy’s physical fitness program during WWII
Ben Hogan (Golf)
Military Service: Army Air Corp 1943-45; lieutenant
Tex Hughson (Baseball)
Military Service: 1945 in the military
*Weldon Humble (Football)
Military Career: Humble has an interesting parallel in his career in that he played college football before and after military service and had his pro career repeat the same pattern. Humble’s playing days at Rice sandwiched a tour of duty with the Marine Corps in World War II. He was a rifle platoon leader in the 2nd Marine Division at Saipan and the invasion of Okinawa. His actions in battle earned him a first lieutenant commission and a Bronze Star. He then entered the NFL with the Dallas Texans in 1950. The Marines recalled Humble in 1951, during the Korean War, to be an instructor at the Marine Officer School in Quantico, VA. When he completed his instructing duties, Humble returned to the NFL, this time with the Cleveland Browns.
*Lew Jenkins (Boxing)
Military Career: Former Lightweight Champion Jenkins, after losing his title in December 1941, found a bigger calling than boxing during World War II. He enlisted in the Coast Guard and was involved in troop deployments in Sicily, Salerno, North Africa, and the Normandy Invasion. During World War II, he received a good conduct medal for teaching fellow soldiers how to box and keeping morale high. After World War II, Jenkins reenlisted in the Army in 1948 where he dropped troops behind Japanese lines in Burma. Unsatisfied with the lack of combat experience, he reenlisted again at the outbreak of the Korean War, this time signing up for the infantry. While in Korea, Jenkins was awarded the Silver Star and other medals.
Jenkin’s actions in combat that garnered the Silver Star: The 38th Regiment of the 2nd Infantry Division started with 200 men, but it quickly was reduced to 68. Jenkins took control and formed what was left of the regiment into a platoon. He led his men to a jungle creek bottom behind Chinese lines, where the platoon held off the Chinese for ten days, allowing men from two other companies to escape the engagement. Major General Robert N. Young on Jenkin’s actions: “I have brought back with me from Korea one of the bravest and finest soldiers I have yet to have under my command. He was very popular with all the men up and down the line. He is First Sergeant Lew Jenkins.” Jenkin’s Army career ended in 1963 with a tour of duty in Germany.
*John Kimbrough (Football)
Military Career: Kimbrough, a Consensus All-American for the Texas A&M football team, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army after he graduated from A&M. The Army quickly promoted him to first lieutenant, but he decided to transfer from the infantry to the Army Air Corps. Kimbrough earned his pilot wings in 1943 and the Air Corps sent him to the Pacific Theater during World War II. While in the Pacific, he earned a promotion to captain for his service.
Ernie Koy, Sr. (Baseball)
Military Service: Navy in WWII; lieutenant
*Tom Landry (Football)
Military Career: Landry, the legendary Dallas Cowboys head coach, interrupted his education after a semester at the University of Texas to serve in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. Landry earned his wings and a commission as a second lieutenant at Lubbock Army Air Field. He was assigned to the 860th Bombardment Squadron in the 493rd Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force, based out of Ipswich, England, as a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber co-pilot, considered by many as one of the most dangerous assignments of the war. From November 1944 to April 1945, Landry completed a combat tour of thirty flight missions, and survived a crash landing in Belgium after his bomber ran out of fuel. The Army later promoted Landry to the rank of first lieutenant before he returned to finish his degree at Texas.
“War had tested me, but I had survived. And that experience had given me not only a broader perspective on life, but a confidence in myself I had never known before.” – Tom Landry
Guy Lewis (Basketball)
Military Service: Army Air Corps pilot in WWII
*Lloyd Mangrum (Golf)
Military Career: When World War II broke out, Mangrum interrupted his stellar golf career and served with General Patton’s Third Army during the war as a corporal. Serving in a forward reconnaissance group of the 9th Division, Mangrum landed on Omaha Beach as part of the Normandy Invasion, helped win the Battle of the Bulge, and fought during the war’s final days in Czechoslovakia. He earned four Battle Stars, a Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts (leg, chin and shoulder) for which he was hospitalized for six months. Mangrum and one other soldier were the sole surviving members of their original unit, which lost five different lieutenants. The Army came to Mangrum only days before the Normandy Invasion and offered him the opportunity to be the golf pro at Fort Meade’s Officers Club in order to avoid combat duty. Mangrum turned the offer down, plainly saying he was not in the Army to play golf but to fight for his country.
“I don't suppose that any of the pro or amateur golfers who were combat soldiers, Marines or sailors will soon be able to think of a three-putt green as one of the really bad troubles in life.” – Lloyd Mangrum
*Gen. Robert Neyland (Football)
Military Career: Neyland, the famed Tennessee football coach, boxing champion, and prized baseball prospect of the New York Giants, Detroit Tigers, and Philadelphia Athletics, graduated from West Point in 1916 as one of the Academy’s top students and athletes. Instead of pursuing professional sports, Neyland concentrated on his military career. He served in France as part of the Army Corps of Engineers during World War I and returned to West Point as Douglas MacArthur’s aide in 1918. It was here he started coaching, first the Army team and then Tennessee in 1926. The Army recalled Neyland to active service for one year, where he spent 1935 in the Panama Canal Zone with the Engineers, working on widening the canal. He retired from the Army to return to coaching Tennessee in 1936, but was recalled in 1941. In World War II Neyland served in the China-Burma-India Theater, supervising the transportation of materiel and supplies through monsoons and across the Himalayas to Allied ground, air, and clandestine forces. His tactical decisions, coupled with his resourcefulness and steady guidance, helped break the Japanese stranglehold on China.
During his military career, Neyland was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit(twice), the Chinese Order of Cloud and Banner, and made a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. He retired from military service a second time, in 1946, with the rank of brigadier general.
Harley Redin (Women’s Basketball)
Military Service: Marine Corps bomber pilot in WWII in Pacific; flew 50 combat missions
David Robinson (Basketball)
Military Service: After graduating from the Naval Academy, Robinson became a civil engineering officer at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Georgia. The Navy excused him from three years of the normal five years of his military commitment following graduation from the Naval Academy. Nonetheless, Robinson continued to serve in a reserve role with the Navy and was regularly featured in recruiting materials for the service. Despite the nickname "Admiral", Robinson's actual rank upon fulfilling his service commitment was Lieutenant, Junior Grade. Even after his NBA career began, Robinson continued to serve the Navy in reserve duty and promotional campaigns. While others had debated his case in the late 1980s, the 7-foot-1 center said he would proudly serve all five years, if that were the Navy's decision.
*Joe Routt (Football)
Military Career: Texas A&M football star Routt was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Army upon graduation from A&M and went on active duty in March 1942. In 1942, before shipping off to Europe, he played for the Army West All-Star football team against professional football teams. As an infantry officer in World War II, he received the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. He was a captain and company commander in Holland when he was killed in action on December 10, 1944. He was buried in Margraten, Netherlands before he was reburied in Brenham, Texas on April 19, 1949.
Darrell Royal (Football)
Military Service: Served in Army Air Corps in WWII
Carroll Shelby (Racing)
Military Service: Army Air Corps, serving in WWII as a flight instructor and test pilot.
*Roger Staubach (Football)
Military Career: After graduating from the Naval Academy, Staubach could have requested an assignment to stay in the United States, but he chose to volunteer for a one-year tour of duty in Vietnam. He served as a Supply Corps officer for the Navy until 1967. Staubach spent the rest of his Naval career in the United States, playing football on various Naval service teams to prepare for his future professional football career as a Hall of Fame quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.
*Jim Swink (Football)
Military Career: Swink, a former All-American running back at TCU, spurned professional football and instead entered medical school to become a surgeon. He was drafted into the Army and entered active duty on February 1, 1966. After basic training in Texas the Army assigned him as a combat surgeon to a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital unit bound for Ku Chi, Vietnam and the 12th Evacuation Hospital. There, Swink performed immediate debriding of wounds, amputations, and basic care. Wounded usually arrived at the hospital within two or three hours. Swink often worked two or three days straight before a lull. He remained at the hospital in Ku Chi for five months before he was made a captain and reassigned to a base at Lai Khe. In Lai Khe, Swink went out on battalion-size operations in the field. While in the field, he was limited in medical care he could provide, mainly starting IVs and clearing breathing passages before moving injured soldiers to helicopters as quickly as possible.
Swink spent seven months stationed in Lai Khe. He returned to the United States in August 1968 and finished his service at Fort Sill near Lawton, Oklahoma. Swink was awarded a Bronze Star, Air Medal and Purple Heart for his actions in Vietnam.
*JV Sikes (Football)
Military career: Born in 1904 into a generation of men that were too young to enlist in the armed forces in World War I and too old for combat duty in World War II, Jules Verne Sikes found a different way to serve his country. The former coach at Blinn Junior College, Texas A&M, Georgia, Kansas, and East Texas State, among others, coached the Navy’s St. Mary’s Pre-Flight School football team from 1943 to 1944. In 1945, the Navy appointed Sikes the Athletic and Military Training officer at Pensacola Naval Air Station.
* = Featured in “Call of Duty” Exhibit
Military objects used in this exhibit were provided through a generous loan from the Mayborn Museum Complex, Baylor University, Waco, TX.
Comments are closed.