If you are a baseball fan, you’re probably taking every chance you can to root for your favorite team as the MLB playoffs quickly approach. Most Likely, your excitement builds as you watch those you might consider the heroes of the game known as America’s pastime battle it out for spots in The World Series.
But, did you know? The world of major league baseball boasts a lineup of a different sort of hero—those who have served the U.S. in various wars.
Coleman once said, “To me the height of my life, the best thing I ever knew, was the Yankees, wasn’t baseball or broadcasting. It was the Marine Corps.”
Here are some of the highlights of Coleman’s WWII service:
- Fall 1942: Coleman joined the navy’s V-5 program, the training and testing program developing young flying officers for the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps. Coleman chose to fly for the Marine Corps.
- April 1, 1944: Commissioned as second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve and received his gold wings at the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. He flew 57 total WWII missions.
- Flew Douglas Dauntless (SBD) dive bombers.
- Joined a squadron designated VMSB-314 and nicknamed “The Torrid Turtles.”
- Received several honors, including two Distinguished Flying Crosses, several Air Medals and a WWII Victory Medal.
- January 1946: Released from active duty in the Marines and returned to baseball with the New York Yankees, first for their minor league teams, before moving up to the majors in 1949.
In a recent video interview—an oral history recorded at the San Diego Air and Space Museum–Coleman said, “There are only two things important in my life: the people you love and who love you, and your country.”
And now you have a chance to bring other WWII veteran’s stories come to life by putting together your own WWII mini-documentary. Go to the iHistory WW2 contest web site to find out how! www.heroes-ww2.org