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Sports Heroes Who Served: Tennis Star Served in Navy During Korean War

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 May 25, 2021 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

Sports Heroes Who Served is a series that highlights the accomplishments of athletes who served in the U.S. military.

Marion Anthony Trabert, better known as Tony Trabert, was one of the biggest tennis stars in the 1950s.

His wins included:

  • 1950: Grand Slam doubles at the French Open.
  • 1953: Grand Slam singles at the U.S. Open
  • 1954: Grand Slam singles at the French Open, the Grand Slam doubles at the French Open and the Davis Cup for team competitions
  • 1955: Grand Slam singles at the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and three Grand Slam doubles at the Australian Open and the French Open

Trabert’s tennis career was interrupted during the Korean War, from 1950-1953, when he enlisted in the Navy and served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea, which was part of the U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

After retiring from tennis in 1963, Trabert had a career as a TV tennis and golf analyst until 2004.

In 1970, Trabert was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. He was enshrined into the Cincinnati Tennis Hall of Fame in 2002. In 2014, Trabert was inducted into the United States Tennis Association’s Court of Champions.

Trabert died at the age of 90 at his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, on Feb. 3.

More About the USS Coral Sea

Although the USS Coral Sea was built toward the end of World War II, the ship wasn’t launched until April 2, 1946, thereby missing the war. The ship was named for a large World War II naval battle in the Coral Sea.

During the Korean War, the ship still featured the traditional straight flight deck that all carriers had during World War II. In 1957, long after Trabert’s time on the Coral Sea, the ship was rebuilt with an angled flight deck that all aircraft carriers have today. The vessel was scrapped in 2000.


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