Ted Williams was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Throughout his years with the Boston Red Sox, Ted’s amazing career included such honors as Rookie of the Year (1939), two AL Triple Crowns (1942 & 1947), two-time MVP (1946 & 1949), 17 All Star appearances, member of 500 Home Run Club and Hall of Fame inductee (1966).
Off the diamond, Williams was an active member of the United States Marine Corps during both World War II and the Korean War. Upon registering for the Selective Service System, Williams was classified as a 3-A registrant, deferring him from military duty because of his mother’s dependence on him. Despite this, Ted’s classification changed, making him available for unrestricted military service, when the US entered WWII in 1942. Although victorious in appealing this change, Ted enlisted in the Navy after a backlash from the press and his fans. From there, Ted took a leave from baseball to serve his country.
Instead of taking an easy assignment to play baseball for the Navy, Williams set his sights on being a Naval Aviator and received his wings and commission into the Marine Corps in 1944. Prior to this, Ted had to attend ground school and interestingly enough, was in the company of fellow major leaguers Johnny Sain, Buddy Gremp (both from the Braves), Joe Coleman of the Athletics and Red Sox teammate Johnny Pesky. (Pictured below from left: Coleman, Sain, Williams, Pesky, Gremp)
Williams was stationed in Florida at the Pensacola Air Station during WWII for training and entered combat during his second military tour during the Korean War. Ted arrived in Korea in February of 1953 and flew a record of 39 missions before leaving the Marines in July due to constant sickness.
Ted Williams returned to baseball on August 6, 1953 and picked up where he had left off hitting .407 in 37 games with 13 homeruns in his 91 at-bats.