Al Blozis
Al Blozis.jpg
No. 32
Position:Offensive tackle
Personal information
Born:(1919-01-05)January 5, 1919
Garfield, New Jersey, U.S.
Died:January 31, 1945(1945-01-31) (aged 26)
Vosges Mountains, France  
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:250 lb (113 kg)
Career information
High school:William L. Dickinson
(Jersey City, New Jersey)
College:Georgetown
NFL Draft:1942 / Round: 5 / Pick: 38
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch
United States Army seal
U.S. Army
Years of service1943–1945
Rank
US-O1 insignia.svg
Second lieutenant
Unit
28th Infantry Division SSI (1918-2015).svg
28th Infantry Division
Battles/warsWorld War II
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com

Albert Charles Blozis (January 5, 1919 – January 31, 1945) was an American football offensive tackle and track and field athlete who died fighting in World War II.

Biography

Early life

Albert Charles Blozis, known as "Al", was born on January 5, 1919 in Garfield, New Jersey to Lithuanian immigrants.[1] He attended William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City, New Jersey, where he became well-known for his skill in the discus throw and shot put.[2] At Georgetown University, he won AAU and NCAA indoor and outdoor shot titles three years in a row from 1940 to 1942. He had a best put of 57 feet, 3/4 inches (17.61 meters). In 2015, Blozis was inducted into the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.[3]

Professional football career

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 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

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 United States Army on December 9, 1943. He was first assigned to duty as a physical instructor at Walter Reed General Hospital and then went through officer training at Fort Benning, where 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. On January 31, 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.[4] He never returned.

Blozis was first listed as missing, but in April 1945, his death was confirmed. His remains were buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in Saint-Avold, Moselle.[5]

Honors

The New York Giants retired the number 32 that Blozis had worn. A second Giants player, Jack Lummus, also died in World War II.[6]

In April 1946, True Comics[7] featured a story about Blozis entitled The Human Howitzer.[8]

The United States Army honored Blozis by naming an athletic center in Frankfurt, Germany after him. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986.[5]

An apartment building in Jersey City, Al Blozis Hall, is named in his honor.[citation needed]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Chapter 6: The Greatrest Hoya Of Them All
  2. ^ 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, New Jersey, 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."
  3. ^ "Al Blozis". USA Track & Field. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  4. ^ HoyaSaxa.com: Georgetown Football Awards at www.hoyasaxa.com
  5. ^ a b "2Lt Albert Charles "Al" Blozis". Find-a-Grave.
  6. ^ "Answering the call of duty". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. May 28, 2006
  7. ^ True Comics, Chicago, No. 48, April 1946
  8. ^ The Human Howitzer

Further reading