• Bob Feller, Cleveland Indians pitching phenom, became the first professional American athlete to enlist during World War II. Two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Feller volunteered for the U.S. Navy. He served as a chief petty officer aboard the USS Alabama, first seeing action during Operation Galvanic in November of 1943. The Alabama would go on to see action during Operation Flintlock and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Feller's combat duty ended in August 1945, and, two days after returning home, played for the Cleveland Indians against the Detroit Tigers. The Indians won 4-2. (Naval History and Heritage Command)
  • On October 3, 1943, Gil Hodges, at the age of 19, made his major league debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Eleven days later, Hodges joined the Marine Corps, where he would take part in the Battle of Okinawa in April 1945. For his actions there, Hodges was awarded the bronze star for heroism under fire. Discharged in 1946, Hodges would play for the Newport News Dodgers until being called back up to Brooklyn in 1947. (Sports Studio/Getty Images)
  • Joe Pinder (right), a pitcher who bounced around in the minors prior to the war, enlisted in the U.S. Army in January 1941. Pinder saw action in North Africa and Sicily before serving as a technician fifth grade on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Shot twice, once in the head and once in the leg, Pinder continued to fight and get the radios set up and operational. Pinder, however, would not survive the morning. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, becoming only one of a dozen Americans to be awarded the medal at Normandy. (Soldiers & Sailors Museum & Memorial Trust, INC. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
  • Elmer Gedeon, a former three sports star at the University of Michigan, cast his lot with baseball in 1939 and signed with the Washington Senators on June 3. Gedeon was drafted into the U.S. Army in January 1941 before transferring to the U.S. Army Air Force in October of that year. Gedeon, part of the Marauder crew of the 394th Bomb Group, was flying his 13th mission over German-occupied France when his plane was shot down, killing Gedeon and five other crew members. Gedeon was one of two MLB players to be killed in WWII. The other was Harry O'Neill, who played one game for the Philadelphia Athletics. (Gary Bedingfield/US Army)
  • Famed Yankee catcher, Yogi Berra felt called to duty, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1943. He would become a gunner's mate and serve on an LCT(R) in the lead up before the Normandy invasion. Berra would see action on both Omaha and Utah beaches during D-Day. "I enjoyed it. I wasn’t scared. Going into, it looked like Fourth of July. It really did..." Berra recalled in an interview with the Academy of Achievement. Berra was awarded the Purple Heart, a Distinguished Unit Citation, two battle stars and a European Theatre of Operations ribbon for his service before being called up to play for the Yankees again in 1946. (Kidwiler Collection/Getty Images)
  • Warren Spahn, the famously high leg kick pitcher of the Boston Braves, was drafted into the Army’s combat engineers in 1943. He would fight in the Battle of the Bulge in the winter of 1944, and was part of retaking of the bridge at Remagen that allowed Allied troops to cross the Rhine. For his actions, he was awarded a battlefield commission, a Bronze Star, and a Purple Heart. Spahn would return to the Braves in 1946. (Bettman/Getty Images)