‘Serving Your Country’ has as many meanings as there are individuals; it looks different across generations, eras, and politics, and without a doubt extends beyond the military. At the root though is the determination to achieve & protect freedoms and democracy.What sets some people apart from the rest is the willingness to take a step beyond and pursue these values at personal cost for the benefit of all.
Joe Louis had been world heavyweight champ for almost 5 years before he was inducted into the US Army in 1942. The Brown Bomber had already built a hero’s reputation by defeating Germany’s Max Schmeling in 1938 and is widely regarded as the first African-American to achieve the status of a nationwide hero in the United States and was also a focal point of anti-Nazi sentiment leading up to and during World War II.
While stationed at Fort Riley, Louis would cross paths with a young Jackie Robinson and later Sugar Ray Robinson - with whom he would travel the world performing in exhibition boxing matches to help boost morale amongst troops overseas. While serving, ‘The Brown Bomber’ used his position to bring attention to the issues facing black soldiers, including helping Jackie Robinson secure a position in Officer Candidate School - a spot seldom awarded to black applicants.
Louis was eventually promoted to the rank of technical sergeant on April 9, 1945. On September 23 of the same year, he was awarded the Legion of Merit (a military decoration rarely awarded to enlisted soldiers) for "incalculable contribution to the general morale.". Receipt of the honor qualified him for immediate release from military service on October 1, 1945.
In keeping with the spirit of their service, we have partnered with our friends Jay Glazer and Nate Boyer at MVP (Merging Vets and Players). In addition to normal royalties going to the estates of our featured Icons, we will be matching the royalty proceeds and donating them to MVP.
MVP empowers combat veterans and former professional athletes by connecting them after the uniform comes off; providing them with a new team to assist with the transition, promote personal development, and show them they are never alone.
Officially licensed by Joe Louis.
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