RECREATION & FITNESS

Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame

Ralph Heywood
Class of 2012

Ralph HeywoodRalph Heywood was born on September 11, 1921 in Los Angeles, CA... set a USC record by being the first player to have over 100 yards receiving in a single game... led the team in receiving yards in both 1942 and 1943... In 1943- named First Team All-Conference and First Team All-American... selected by the Detroit Lions in the 1944 NFL draft... In 1946 he played with the Chicago Rockets (AAFC)... played in the National Football League from 1947-1949, Detroit Lions (1947-1948), Boston Yanks (1948) and the New York Bulldogs (1949)... played End, Defensive End and Punter in the NFL and AAFC... racking up 20 catches for 287 yards (14.4 yards per reception), 4 touchdowns, and 2 punts for 57 yards... had 64 catches for 905 yards (14.1 yards per reception) and 6 touchdowns. He also had 66 punts for 2466 yards, averaging 37.4 yards per punt... played a total of 14 games during his single season in the AAFC and 34 games during 3 seasons in the NFL... stationed aboard the USS Iowa from November 1944 to September 1945. 1952 - served in Korea... served as the U.S. Embassy Naval Attachè in the Dominican Republic during the Intervention of 1965... awarded the Legion of Merit…1969 - deployed to Vietnam, participating in the defense of the Danang Vital Sector... 1974 -retired having completed 32 years of service, 24 of which were on active duty... twice awarded the Legion of Merit (with combat "V")... received the combat action ribbon, earned campaign medals for service during WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War respectively.

Ralph Heywood was born on September 11, 1921 in Los Angeles, CA. He attended Huntington Park High School where he boxed and played varsity football and basketball. Upon graduation he received an athletic scholarship to the University of Southern California (USC) where he would continue to play football. During the 1941-43 seasons Heywood played End, Defensive End and Punter for USC. In 1941 he punted with an average of 37.5 yards per punt. In 1942 he punted with an average of 37.8 yards per punt and at End had 12 catches for 205 yards. His 1943 season would be cut short as Heywood was drafted into the Marine Corps. That year he was named team captain, even though he only played 5 games. He also set a school record by being the first player in USC history to have over 100 yards receiving in a single game. That game was played against St. Mary's Pre Flight in which Heywood had 4 catches for 101 yards. His season total in 1943 was 11 catches for 196 yards. He led the team in receiving yards in both 1942 and 1943. In 1943 he was named First Team All Conference and First Team All-American.

Heywood reported to MCRD Parris Island in November 1943. In March 1944 he was appointed as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve. After completing training at Quantico, he was stationed aboard the USS Iowa where he served from November 1944 to September 1945. World War II was the first of three wars in which Ralph Heywood served. Finishing his initial enlistment, he remained on active duty until February 1946.

Heywood was selected by the Detroit Lions in the 1944 NFL draft, third round (19th overall), but due to his service in the Marines, he would not play football professionally until 1946. In 1946 he played with the Chicago Rockets, a professional football team in the All-American Football Conference (AAFC). He would later play in the National Football League from 1947-1949, playing for the Detroit Lions (1947-1948), the Boston Yanks (1948) and the New York Bulldogs (1949).

Heywood played End, Defensive End and Punter in the NFL and AAFC. While playing in the AAFC he racked up 20 catches for 287 yards (14.4 yards per reception) and four touchdowns. He also had two punts for 57 yards. While playing in the NFL Heywood had 64 catches for 905 yards (14.1 yards per reception) and six touchdowns. He also had 66 punts for 2466 yards, averaging 37.4 yards per punt. Heywood played a total of 14 games during his single season in the AAFC and 34 games during 3 seasons in the NFL.

In 1952 Lieutenant Heywood returned to active duty in the Marine Corps and served in Korea, the second war in which he served. Years later, while serving as the Naval Attaché to the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic during the Dominican Republic Intervention of 1965, LtCol Heywood was recognized for his actions by Admiral John S. McCain Jr. and was awarded the Legion of Merit. In 1969 Heywood was deployed to Vietnam where he would serve in a third major war, participating in the defense of the Danang Vital Sector.

Ralph Heywood is the only NFL player to ever serve in the U.S. military during three separate wars. He retired from the Marine Corps as a Colonel in 1974, having completed 32 years of service, 24 of which were on active duty. He led a distinguished career in which he was twice awarded the Legion of Merit (with combat "V"), has received the combat action ribbon and has earned campaign medals for service during WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War respectively.