It seems odd to say because since 1970, only 2 UK basketball players have served in the military (Charles Hurt and Carlos Toomer), but pre-1960, it was a common occurance for UK players to also wear the fatigues of this nation, many of them fighting overseas. In fact, many of the UK greats who have their numbers in the rafters at Rupp Arena also fought for this nation:
But today, on this Memorial Day, we want to honor those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for this nation. And for UK, that list has 6 names on it. 5 of those men died while fighting in World War II and 1 during World War I. Their names are:
Howard Kinne (played on the 1915 and 1917 teams)
-died in France in 1918 as a member of the Army Air Corps. Was the first aviator from Kentucky to die while in action.
James King (played on the 1940, 1941, and 1942 teams)
-was a 2nd-team All-SEC player in 1941 and 1942. Died when his plane was shot down in Germany in 1944.
James Goforth (played on the 1935, 1936, and 1937 teams)
-was killed in the Battle of Saipan in 1944. Earned Bronze Star and Silver Star.
Melvin Brewer (played on the 1941, 1942, and 1943 teams)
-died while fighting in France in 1944
Kenneth England (played on the 1941 and 1942 teams)
-was killed in Italy in 1945. Earned the Bronze Star and Silver Star
Walter Johnson (played on the 1944 team)
-died on the cruiser Indianapolis in 1945
Thanks to Jon Scott’s website for providing this information. For a complete list of those players who also served, click here.