There are people who have served our country regardless of their race, economic status, or career. What’s more surprising is that some of them were professional athletes who voluntarily left their careers in order to focus on serving our nation. It’s not easy, especially if it’s the peak of their career, but they pursued it without any glitch of doubt. And for that, we are proud for their unmatched patriotism. Here are some of these inspiring people:

1. Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman was a professional footballer of the Arizona Cardinals before he enlisted in the United States Army eight months after the 9/11 attack (September 11, 2011). In fact, he has a 3.6 million dollar contract with the league.

He joined the Army Rangers and served a tour in Iraq before being assigned to Afghanistan, where he died in a combat in the mountains. According to the report, he had been killed by enemy fire. But after a month, controversy arose when the Pentagon notified the family of Tillman that he was killed in a friendly fire incident. Nevertheless, the brave soldier was awarded a Purple Heart and Silver Star medals and a posthumous promotion from specialist to corporal.

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2. Jack Lummus

The story of Jack Lummus was quite inspiring, too. On January 30, 1942 he enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve. Although a renowned football player—inducted to the New York Giants Ring of Honor—he didn’t hesitate joining the military to serve the country. That was a patriotic act.

After finishing his basic training at the Mainside Recruit Training Center in San Diego, California, he was deployed to Camp Elliott—which is about 10 miles north of San Diego. There, he became iconic for joining the San Diego Marine Corps baseball club known as the “Devildogs.”

On February 19, 1945, he was one of the first wave of troops to arrive at Iwo Jima, Japan. He fought bravely with his platoon and remained on the island to continue the battle. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his unmatched bravery and patriotism.

3. Jerry Coleman

Who would have thought that a baseball player would enlist in the military to serve the country? Jerry Coleman’s bravery and patriotism is one of the most inspiring the history has seen. Despite his lucrative career, he didn’t mind losing it. He was determined to show love to the country.

During the WW II and the Korean War, he was a Marine Corps pilot. He flew in combat missions using the VMA-323 Death Rattlers (Korea) and the VMSB-341 Torrid Turtles (WWII). Interesting fact about Jerry Coleman: He escaped a scary crash during the Korean War.

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4. Joe Louis

Known for his nicknames such as “The Heater from Van Meter”, “Rapid Robert”, and “Bullet Bob”, Joe Louis was one of the most iconic baseball players in American history. But if you think he’s only concerned about his fruitful career, nope. He was, in fact, the first American professional athlete to enlist in the United States Navy (he loves serving the country, too).

During his military service, he was a Chief Petty Officer aboard the USS Alabama. He was respected for his bravery and determination not just in baseball, also in World War II.

Top 4 Professional Athletes Who have served America very well