A new title, “Football! Navy! War!” How Militiary “Lend-Lease”players saved the College Game and Helped Win World War II is out. While highlighting the Navy’s role in preserving the game and football’s impact on national morale and the war effort during the 1940s, it has a significant local angle. One of the star players, “Choo Choo” Charlie Justice, trained at the Bainbridge Naval Training Center.
The author, Wilbur D. Jones, is a retired Navy captian with four decades of service. He spent several days in Cecil County working with the Bainbridge Museum and others while doing his fieldwork.
According to the Star News, “Growing up in Wilmington, Jones idolized Charlie “Choo-Choo” Justice, the legendary tailback who led the UNC Tar Heels to three bowl games and (briefly, at least, in 1948) the No. 1 spot in the Associated Press college football polls. Well, Justice, was just out of Asheville High School when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and headed for Bainbridge Naval Training Station, near Port Deposit, Md., where he became part of the Fighting Commodores, one of the Navy’s top teams, and one of the top-rated football squads in the nation, period.
Click here to read a full book review from the Wilmington, NC Star News Online.