SPOTLIGHT

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Staff Sergeant Robert Carmody, U.S. Army
Boxer Bob Carmody won the bronze medal in the flyweight division at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. He then remained involved in the sport as a coach and served as a medic in the 101st Airborne. The unit was sent to Vietnam. On patrol several weeks later, Carmody and five soldiers were ambushed; five of the six died in the subsequent firefight. (Photo courtesy U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee)
2/13
Captain Clifton Cushman, U.S. Air Force
Cliff Cushman (pictured second from bottom, finishing second to fellow American Glenn Davis) was a star athlete in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and at the University of Kansas. At the Rome 1960 Olympic Games, Cushman won the silver medal in the men’s 400-meter hurdles. At the 1964 U.S. Olympic Trials, Cushman stumbled over a hurdle in the 400-meter finals and failed to qualify for the team. A part of the Air Force ROTC program at Kansas, Cushman was commissioned into the Air Force upon graduation. He flew bombers during the Vietnam War and was shot down never to be found. Cushman Field at Grand Forks Central High School is named in his honor. (Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee)
3/13
Captain Foy Draper, U.S. Army Air Corps
A standout runner at the University of Southern California, Foy Draper (pictured third from left) ran the third leg as the U.S. won the gold medal in the men’s 4x100-meter relay at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. During World War II, he was a pilot. He and two crew members took off on a mission from Tunisia and never returned. (Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee)
4/13
Lieutenant Commander Heywood L. Edwards, U.S. Navy
A 1926 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he lettered in football, wrestling and boxing, Heywood Edwards competed in freestyle wrestling at the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games. He won his first two matches and placed fourth in the light heavyweight division. A career officer in the U.S. Navy, Edwards assumed command of the Reuben James, which became the first ship in the U.S. Navy to be sunk in the Battle of the Atlantic when it was torpedoed by a German submarine, killing Edwards and 99 of his crew. The Destroyer USS Heywood L. Edwards was named in his honor. (Photo courtesy U.S. Naval Academy)
5/13
Major Linn Farish, U.S. Army
Linn Farish was a member of the U.S. Rugby Team (pictured against gold medalist France) that won the gold medal at the Paris 1924 Olympic Games. During World War II, he was a member of the Office of Strategic Services and volunteered for air crew rescue missions. He died in a plane crash during one of those missions. (Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee)
6/13
Billy Fiske, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Billy Fiske (standing left, entering the bobsled) was 16 years old when he became the youngest Olympic gold medalist in any winter sport (a mark that stood for 54 years), driving the U.S. Five-Man Bobsled Team to the gold medal at the St. Moritz 1928 Olympic Winter Games. Four years later, at Lake Placid 1932, Fiske was the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony and drove the U.S. Four-Man Bobsled Team to another gold. A few years later, Fiske forged Canadian paperwork so that he could join the British Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve; his plane was shot during a patrol and Fiske died of his injuries two days later. USA Bobsled and Skeleton awards the Billy Fiske Memorial Trophy each year to the U.S. four-man championship team. (Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee)
7/13
Walter Hasenfus, U.S. Army
Walter Hasenfus competed canoeing in the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games, teaming with his brother Walter to finish fifth in the 10,000-meter C-2 competition. He served in World War II and was killed in action. (Photo courtesy Needham, Mass., History Center & Museum)
8/13
Lieutenant Colonel Tommy Hitchcock Jr., U.S. Army Air Forces
Tommy Hitchcock Jr. (pictured second from left) left school to be part of the Lafayette Flying Corps, volunteering to fly in the French Air Force during World War I. His plane was shot down and Hitchcock was captured, but he managed to escape by jumping out of a train and walking 100 miles at night to safety. Hitchcock helped the U.S. win the silver medal in polo at the Paris 1924 Olympic Games. During World War II, Hitchcock was in England helping pioneer the P-51 Mustang fighter plane; he died during a test run of the new plane. (Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee)
9/13
Second Lieutenant Ted Kara, U.S. Army Air Forces
Boxer Ted Kara won his first two matches before losing in the quarterfinals of the featherweight tournament at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. Kara went on to become a three-time national boxing champion at the University of Idaho, the first athlete to win three NCAA titles. He then was a radio man in the U.S. Army Air Corps. He was declared missing after his plane went missing during a flight over the Pacific Ocean during World War II. (Photo courtesy University of Idaho)
10/13
Colonel Clayton Mansfield, U.S. Army
Clayton Mansfield finished 13th in the modern pentathlon at the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games. A 1928 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he served during World War II. Hours after being awarded the Silver Star for gallantry, Mansfield was on a reconnaissance mission near Samree, Belgium, where he was killed during the Battle of the Bulge. (U.S. Military Academy yearbook photo)
11/13
Captain Charley Paddock, U.S. Marine Corps
Charley Paddock served in the U.S. Army during World War I, then returned home and represented the United States at three Olympic Games. At the Antwerp 1920 Olympic Games, Paddock won the gold medal in the 100-meter dash, the silver medal in the 200-meter dash and helped the U.S. win gold in the 4x100 relay. At the Paris 1924 Olympic Games, Paddock won the silver in the 200. He also participated in the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games. Paddock became a newspaper editor and publisher, then served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He was a top aide to Major General W.P. Upshur and died in a plane crash in Sitka, Alaska. Paddock is a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Hall of Fame and the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame. (Photo courtesy International Olympic Committee)
12/13
Lietenant Colonel Jack Turnbull, Maryland National Guard
Jack Turnbull was a member of the U.S. Lacrosse Team when it was a demonstration sport at the Los Angeles 1932 Olympic Games and he was a member of the U.S. Field Hockey Team at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games. Having earned his pilot’s license as a college student, he joined the Maryland National Guard before World War II and subsequently was deployed to Europe. While returning on a bombing run to Germany, Turnbull’s plane collided with another plane mid-air and crash-landed; he died two days later from his injuries. Inducted into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame, the U.S. Lacrosse each year presents the Jack Turnbull Award to the nation’s top collegiate attackman. (Photo courtesy U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee)
13/13
Captain Ron Zinn, U.S. Army
Ron Zinn competed in race walking at the Rome 1960 Olympic Games and Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. His best finish was sixth place in the 20km at Tokyo. A 1962 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, he served in Vietnam, where he was killed in a firefight in War Zone D while serving as a platoon leader. USA Track & Field annually presents the Captain Ron Zinn Memorial Award to the outstanding U.S. race walker. (Photo courtesy U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee)

Virtual Exhibit: Remembering U.S. Olympians who put it all on the line

Through the years, there have been dozens of members of Team USA who represented the country in the Olympics or Paralympics and also served in the nation’s military – before, during and/or after their athletic careers. Many believe that the dedication and motivation needed to excel in athletics translated to becoming a leader in the armed forces.

Some of these athletes served multiple tours of duty, such as Charley Paddock and Tommy Hitchcock Jr., who competed in the Olympics in between serving in World War I and World War II.

Over the years, 15 U.S. Olympians have been killed, are missing in action or died as a result of war. These Olympians combined to win 13 medals: seven golds, five silvers and one bronze, but it is their devotion to the country, accepting dangerous assignments and rising to challenges that might be most noteworthy from their careers.

  • Bob Carmody, boxing at Tokyo 1964 (bronze, flyweight), died in Vietnam War
  • Frank Cuhel, track at Amsterdam 1928 (silver, 400 hurdles), died in World War II
  • Cliff Cushman, track at Rome 1960 (silver, 400 hurdles), died in Vietnam War
  • Foy Draper, track at Berlin 1936 (gold, 4×100 relay), died in World War II
  • Heywood L. Edwards, wrestling at Amsterdam 1928, died in World War II
  • Linn Farish, rugby at Paris 1924 (gold), died in World War II
  • Billy Fiske, bobsled at St. Moritz 1928 (gold, five-man bobsled) and Lake Placid 1932 (gold, four-man bobsled), died in World War II
  • Walter Hasenfus, canoe at Berlin 1936, died in World War II
  • Tommy Hitchcock Jr., polo at Paris 1924 (silver), died in World War II
  • Ted Kara, boxer at Berlin 1936, died in World War II
  • William Lyshon, wrestling at Stockholm 1912, died in World War I
  • Clayton Mansfield, track at Los Angeles 1932, died in World War II
  • Charley Paddock, track at Antwerp 1920 (gold, 100; gold, 4×100 relay; silver, 200); at Paris 1924 (silver, 2000); at Amsterdam 1928; died in World War II
  • Jack Turnbull, field hockey (gold) at Berlin 1936, died in World War II
  • Arthur Wear, tennis at St. Louis 1904, died in World War II
  • Ron Zinn, track at Rome 1960 and Tokyo 1964, died in Vietnam War

The Team USA Patriots series celebrates men and women who have represented the nation on the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic teams and also served in the nation’s armed forces. The initial installment of the series is an exhibit telling the stories of Team USA athletes who lost their lives while serving in the military. It will be online Wednesday, May 20 at usopm.org/team-usa-patriots and on the Museum’s social channels @USOPMuseum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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