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was awarded the Air Medal for his actions that day. Glenn told of another incident and summed up Williams as a pilot: “Another time he was hit in the wingtip tank when I was flying with him. So he was a very active combat pilot, and he was an excellent pilot and I give him a lot of credit.” After 39 missions, Williams was hospitalized with pneumonia and returned to the U.S. to play baseball in the latter part of the 1953 season. Ted Williams wasn’t the only baseball player to join the Marines as a pilot during World War II. Jerry Coleman joined the Marines when he was 18, pushing off his baseball career before making his MLB debut in 1949. Lieutenant Colonel Coleman flew SBD Dauntless dive bombers in World War II and the AU-1 Corsair during the Korean War. He flew a total of 120 combat missions and earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses. After his playing career, he became a Hall of

The Jewish Home | OCTOBER 29, 2015


The Jewish Home | AUGUST 8, 2019


The large lineman was only able to qualify for flight training a few types of aircraft due to his size and therefore became an A-10 Warthog pilot. He was deployed twice to the Persian Gulf and flew 45 missions in the region. Captain Hennings returned to the Cowboys in 1992 and that year won the first of three Super Bowl rings. These three aviators not only distinguished themselves in the air but on the playing field as well. They weren’t content with just joining the military, and their combat record proves that point. This is the third in our series of athlete/soldiers, and it is possible that we will return to this topic at a later point.

Jerry Coleman

Fame announcer for the Padres. Another athlete who had his playing career delayed due to service was defensive tackle Chad Hennings. As a senior at the Air Force

Academy in 1987, he won the Outland Trophy as the best interior lineman in the country. He was drafted in 1988 in the eleventh round by the Cowboys but had to report for duty.

Avi Heiligman is a weekly contributor to The Jewish Home. He welcomes your comments and suggestions for future columns and can be reached at

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Five Towns Jewish Home - 8-8-19  

Five Towns Jewish Home - 8-8-19

Five Towns Jewish Home - 8-8-19  

Five Towns Jewish Home - 8-8-19