While Cleveland Browns fans may feel they do not have much to cheer for in the results of their football teams, they can take pride in knowing they are the only NFL team whose military career resulted in being award the Distinguished Flying Cross, the oldest military award in the United States.
A 1953 sixth-round pick (72nd overall) from Washington State University, Steinbrunner played eight games at offensive tackle in 1954 before beginning his two-year obligation for his ROTC enlistment at WSU.
On July 20, 1967, Steinbrunner’s plane was shot down over Kontum, South Vietnam. He was born on April 5, 1932.
Steinbrunner is one of only two former NFL players to die in the Vietnam Conflict (Buffalos’ Bob Kalsu was the other).
The Air Force Major was also one of the only NFL players to be awarded the Purple Heart.
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