Champ Barney Ross on Guadalcanal

Discussion in 'General' started by Dave55, May 24, 2020.

  1. Dave55

    Dave55 Atlanta, USA Patron

    In retirement in his early thirties, Ross enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in April 1942 to fight in World War II. The Marines wanted to keep him stateside and use his celebrity status to boost morale. Most of the athletes of the era, like heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, had ceremonial roles in the military, but Ross insisted on fighting for his country.

    Before he was to go overseas, Ross physically assaulted a non-commissioned officer who had made an anti-Semitic remark. He was to be court martialed at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego. The other board members wanted to throw the book at Ross, but Captain Berthol E. Davis, who was also Jewish and knew of Ross's achievements, convinced the rest of the board to allow Ross to go overseas and avoid punishment. So, he was sent to the Pacific theater.

    He served with B Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Marines during the Battle of Guadalcanal in the South Pacific. One night, he and three other comrades were trapped under enemy fire. All four were wounded; Ross was the only one able to fight. Ross gathered his comrades' rifles and grenades and single-handedly fought nearly two dozen Japanese soldiers over an entire night, killing them all by morning. Two of the Marines died, but he carried the third on his shoulders to safety; the other man weighed 230 lb (104 kg) compared to Ross' 140 lb (64 kg).

    Ross was awarded America's third highest military honor, the Silver Star,[1] as well as a presidential citation.[7] As one of America's greatest "celebrity" war heroes, he was honored by President Roosevelt in a Rose Garden ceremony. He was also awarded the Edward J. Neil Trophy as "the outstanding boxer of 1942" by the Boxing Writers Association of New York.[7]

    During his time in Guadalcanal, Ross began a lifelong friendship with the famous Father Frederic Gehring, a wartime chaplain who wrote regular correspondences for Reader's Digest magazine. Gehring considered Ross a national treasure who defied logic when it came to bravery and the defense of principle. Ross was the only one capable of playing a temperamental organ on the tropical island. On Christmas Eve, before he and his fellow Marines were to go into battle, Gehring asked him to learn "Silent Night" and other Christmas songs for the troops. After playing them, Gehring asked Ross to play a Jewish song. Ross playedabout a child's love for his self-sacrificing mother. Many of the Marines knew the melody of the song because Ross always had it played when he entered the ring. When the Marines heard the lyrics, newspaper reports say they were all in tears

    Barney Ross - Wikipedia


    Apologies to all. When I went to paste in Barney Ross Wiki entry I somehow pasted Keller & Peele comedy Clips by mistake. Fixed now.
    Last edited: May 24, 2020
    JimHerriot and canuck like this.

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