“Football! Navy! War!”

How Military “Lend-Lease” Players Saved the College Game and Helped Win World War II


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SKU: 9780786442195 Categories: , , ,

About the Book

Not coincidentally, the sport of football naturally employs terms usually associated with war, such as “aerial attack,” “blitz,” and “trench warfare.” During World War II, the United States military and colleges joined forces and fielded competitive football teams. The book highlights the Department of the Navy’s role in preserving the game and football’s impact on national morale and the war effort through their “lend-lease” to colleges of officer candidates, including All-America and professional players. It describes wartime college and military football throughout the globe and offers listings of college and military teams, records, scores, big games, and statistics; player and team profiles; and a glossary of period football terminology.

About the Author(s)

Wilbur D. Jones, Jr., is a nationally known, award-winning military historian and retired Navy captain with four decades of service to the Department of Defense, including as a professor and associate dean at the Defense Acquisition University. He served in the White House as an assistant and advance representative to President Ford. This is his 17th book. He founded and chairs the award-winning preservationist group World War II Wilmington Home Front Heritage Coalition in Wilmington, N.C., where he lives. Visit his website at www.wilburjones.com

Bibliographic Details

Wilbur D. Jones, Jr.
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 277
Bibliographic Info: 81 photos, glossary, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4219-5
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5416-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Foreword by Beano Cook      1
Preface: “Saved from the Junk Pile”      7
Introduction: “The Most Awesome Melange”      13

1. “A Roster Out of Football’s ‘Who’s Who’”: The Bainbridge Eleven      25
2. “Ideological Arsenal”: The Impact of Football on the War Effort, Morale, and Fighting Spirit      43
3. “Lend-Lease Football”: Navy and Marine Corps College Officer Training Programs      56
4. “A War Game in Miniature”: Reacting, Adjusting, and Playing the Game      73
5. “Shifty and Smart, Harder to Stop than Superman”: Charlie Justice, Glamor Prodigy      94
6. “All Hail to the Navy”: Great Lakes, Fleet City, Pre-Flights, and Midshipmen      107
7. “Every General Liked to Have His Own Base Football Team”: Ramblers, Fighting AA’s, Flyers, and Cadets      130
8. “Rollicking, Boisterous, Macho”: Flying Marines and Sea Lions      149
9. “Around the Globe the Message Winged”: The 1942–45 Seasons      161
i10. “All America Will Cheer a Champion, Whether He Is Black, Brown, Yellow or White”: Black Players and Professional Football      189
11. “Not Satisfied to Listen to Short-Wave Broadcasts”: Overseas Football, Postseason Games, and the Postwar      199
12. Clyde “Smackover” Scott and Bob Steuber: Personalities, Vignettes, and Anecdotes      210

Glossary: Wartime Football Expressions, Abbreviations, and Jargon      225
Chapter Notes      231
Selected Bibliography      241
Index      247

Book Reviews & Awards

“In lively and readable prose, he sheds light on a unique, fun, and exciting era of the college game”—America in WWII; “Wilbur D Jones, Jr. has crafted a fine addition to the study of football history and students both of football history and college sports history will want to add this title to their libraries”—WWII Forums; “a remarkable survey of military athletics in World War II. Especially remarkable is this book’s profuse illustrations of period photographs and vintage sports cartoons, a lost art”—StarNews Online; “highly entertaining”—WWII History; “invaluable…a must read for any football historian, college football fan, military historian or football memorabilia collector and should be a part of any football library”—Gridiron Greats; “well-written, meticulously researched…provide(s) a much-needed record of a forgotten stretch in college sports history…a must-read”—ACC Sports Journal; “fascinating tales”—Wings of Gold; “Fills an important niche in the sports and military history of World War II…not just a list of teams and statistics, this book also tells the “then and now” differences in the playing of football through extensive research and interviews.”—Jack A. Green, Naval History & Heritage Command; “A comprehensive telling of a story that can’t be told enough…the chapter about halfback Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice captures him as no defense ever did. This is a good thing that Jones has done.”—Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com; “I’ve been waiting for somebody to do this book and preserve these treasured college football memories, and now Wilbur Jones has done it—and done it splendidly.”—Dan Jenkins, Sports Illustrated; “A well-scripted view of what it was like and of the guys who left the athletic field…just pause for a moment and try to imagine: Tiger Woods being called up and sent into the trenches. That’s the way it was.”—Furman Bisher, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution; “An untold story about the relationship of America’s great game and its relationship with the armed forces—especially with the U.S. Navy—during this nation’s struggle against the Axis powers. As one who served and fought alongside many of the outstanding athletes that Wilbur Jones portrays, I can testify how the smash-mouth tactics of the gridiron were applied in the waters and archipelagoes of the Western Pacific. This book is a must-have for any patriot and fan of the sport!”—Admiral James L. Holloway III, USN (Ret.) 20th Chief of Naval Operations, chairman emeritus, Naval Historical Foundation