March, 20 2023
In Honor of Independence Day, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame Pays Tribute to Some of the Game’s Most Heroic Players
The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame celebrates its rich military heritage this July 4th and every day with free admission for all active duty and retired members of all military branches. Family members also receive a special admisison rate.
“The Hall of Fame is proud of our long-standing connection to the Military and our members who served,” said Dennis Adamovich, CEO of the Hall. “Their accomplishments off the field far outweigh what took place on the field and they have a special place in our building and in our hearts.”
Founded in 1951 by General Douglas MacArthur, legendary Army coach Earl “Red” Blaik and renowned journalist Grantland Rice, the Hall of Fame recognizes all its members who have served our country and in celebration of our nation’s birthday, we honor three special players whose heroic acts will never be forgotten.
In 1942, halfback Bob Chappuis had just completed his sophomore season at the University of Michigan. He missed the next three years of football, joining the United States Army Air Corps.
During his service in World War II, Chappuis rose to the rank of Lieutenant as a radio operator and gunner. On his 21st mission, in February 1945, he was sent to Northern Italy where his plane was severely hit by gunfire. Chappuis and his crew were forced to abandon the plane and parachute into the Italian countryside. Before they could be captured by German patrols, the team was rescued by an Italian partisan. The Americans were kept hidden from the Germans in various homes and villages, some only yards from German headquarters, as they made their way to the Swiss border during the final three months of the war.
Following the war, he kept in contact with the Italians that kept him hidden, returning to visit Italy and hosting his protectors in the United States. Photo here.
Upon graduating from Cleveland East Technical High School, Jim Martin joined the United States Marines to fight in World War II. As an experienced swimmer, he trained as an underwater demolitions expert, better known as a frogman. Martin earned a Bronze Star on assignment in July 1944 prior to the invasion of the island of Tinian. Entering the water under the cover of darkness, Martin first swam 500 yards and then detonated a series of defense weapons that the Japanese had erected to halt the invasion of Allied forces.
Martin’s World War II exploits in the Pacific gave him the nickname of “Jungle Jim.” During the war, Martin met Coach Frank Leahy who recruited him to play at Notre Dame. Martin went on to play tackle, tight end and was a place kicker. In his four years with the Irish they went 36-0-2 and won three National Championships. Photo here.
Prior to his time at the University of Pennsylvania, center Chuck Bednarik joined the United States Army Air Corps and served as a B-24 Liberator bomber that flew over Europe in World War II. After graduating high school in Bethlehem, Penn., “Concrete Charlie” left for training before he could pick up his high school diploma.
Bednarik flew 30 missions in the 8th Air Force and was awarded the Air Medal, four Oak Leaf Clusters, a European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and four Battle Stars. Upon returning home, he re-enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania where he was a two-time consensus All-America, Maxwell Award winner and finished third in the 1948 Heisman voting. Photo here.