Famous Veteran: Rocky Marciano

Army veteran Rocky Marciano raises his hands after he was crowned new heavyweight champion with a knockout of Jersey Joe Walcott in Philadelphia.
Army veteran Rocky Marciano raises his hands to acknowledge cheers after he was crowned the new heavyweight champion with a 13th-round knockout of Jersey Joe Walcott in Philadelphia on Sept. 23, 1952. (AP Photo)

Born Rocco Francis Marchegiano in Brockton, Massachusetts, on Sept. 1, 1923, Marciano won the heavyweight championship by defeating Jersey Joe Walcott for the title on Sept. 23, 1952.

Drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, Marciano was assigned to the 150th Combat Engineers. He was stationed in Wales, where he was involved in operations on the English Channel. The 150th was awarded service stars for Normandy, North France, Rheinland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe.

It was in the Army that Marciano first boxed, starting with unofficial bouts, and working up to junior amateur by the time of his discharge in 1946. After failing a tryout for catcher with the Chicago Cubs baseball team, Marciano returned to boxing. His record was 49-0 with 43 knockouts.

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