Al Blozis

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Al Blozis
Al Blozis.jpg
Date of birth: (1919-01-05)January 5, 1919
Place of birth: Garfield, New Jersey
Date of death: January 21, 1945(1945-01-21) (aged 26)
Place of death: Vosges Mountains, France 
Career information
Position(s): Tackle
College: Georgetown
High school: Jersey City (NJ) Dickinson
NFL Draft: 1942 / Round: 5 / Pick: 38
Organizations
As player:
1942-1944 New York Giants
Career highlights and awards
Career stats
Playing stats at NFL.com
Military service
Allegiance: United States United States
Service/branch: United States Army seal U.S. Army
Years of service: 1943-1945
Rank: US-O1 insignia.svg Second lieutenant
Unit: US28th Infantry Division.svg 28th Infantry Division
Battles/wars: World War II

Albert Charles Blozis (January 5, 1919 – January 21, 1945) was an American football player who died as a soldier while in combat during World War II.

Early life[edit]

Blozis was born in Garfield, New Jersey. He attended William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, New Jersey where he became well known for throwing the discus and shot put.[1] At Georgetown University, he was the national indoor and outdoor shotput champion in both 1942 and 1943. He set the world indoor record for the shotput,[2] throwing it 56 feet 4.5 inches in 1941 at a meet in Cleveland.[citation needed]

Professional football career[edit]

Blozis was drafted in the fifth round of the 1942 NFL Draft and played offensive tackle for the New York Giants of the National Football League. He played for the Giants in 1942 and 1943 before entering the military. He was also able to play three games in 1944 while on furlough.

World War II and death[edit]

In a 1991 news story, The New York Times wrote, "Curiously, the very size that made him so intimidating on the football field kept him out of the military until late 1943, when, after repeated attempts, Blozis finally persuaded the Army to waive its size limit and accept him. It took further persuading to get from a desk job to the front lines."[1]

Blozis was inducted into the Army on December 9, 1943. He was first assigned to duty as a physical instructor at Walter Reed General Hospital and then went through Officers' training at Fort Benning. At Fort Benning, he set the Army's hand grenade throwing record with a toss of 94 yards, 2 feet 6.5 inches.[1] He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 28th Infantry Division. In January 1945, his platoon was in the Vosges Mountains of France scouting enemy lines. When two of his men, a Sergeant and a private, failed to return from a patrol, he went in search of them alone.[3] He never returned.

Blozis was first listed as missing, but in April of that year his death was confirmed. His remains were buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in Saint-Avold, Moselle.[4]

Honors[edit]

The New York Giants retired the number 32, which Blozis had worn. A second Giants player, Jack Lummus also died in World War II.[5]

In April 1946 True Comics[6] featured a story about Blozis entitled The Human Howitzer.[7]

The United States Army honored him by naming an athletic center in Frankfurt, Germany, after him. He was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.[4]  

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Blozis was killed Jan 21 in France, New York Times, April 9, 1945.
  • Two Giants Were Heroes Far From Playing Field; Al Blozis, a Star Tackle, and Jack Lummus, a Promising Receiver, Died in Combat in World War II, New York Times, January 26, 1991.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Thomas, Robert McG., Jr. "Two Giants Were Heroes Far From Playing Field", The New York Times, January 26, 1991. Accessed September 25, 2009. "Blozis, who was born in Garfield, N.J., and was a star athlete at Dickinson High School in Jersey City before going to Georgetown on a track scholarship, was regarded as the strongest player in professional football and had the physique to prove it."
  2. ^ "Ten of the greatest athlete-veterans in sports history". Yahoo! Sports.
  3. ^ HoyaSaxa.com: Georgetown Football Awards at www.hoyasaxa.com
  4. ^ a b "2Lt Albert Charles "Al" Blozis". Find-a-Grave. 
  5. ^ "Answering the call of duty". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. May 28, 2006
  6. ^ True Comics, Chicago, IL, No. 48, April 1946
  7. ^ The Human Howitzer

External links[edit]