Military Wiki
Ernie Bonelli
Born (1919-07-27)July 27, 1919
Russellton, Pennsylvania
Died October 12, 2009(2009-10-12) (aged 90)
Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania
Ernie Bonelli
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army Air Corps
Years of service 1941–1945
Unit Third Air Force
Battles/wars Operation Torch

Ernest Bernard Bonelli (July 27, 1919 - October 12, 2009) was an American football player for the Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League.

Early life

He won a football scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh, where he played and defensive back for coach Jock Sutherland.

In 1941, he enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps and served as a radar operator on B-17 bombers. In 1942, he was part of the invasion of North Africa at Casablanca. He also played football for the Third Air Force Gremlins, sharing the backfield with Charley Trippi. After World War II ended, he returned to Pittsburgh and played in the 1945 College All-Star Game.

Football career

He was signed by the Cardinals for the 1945 season, appearing in seven games as a running back, kick returner, and defensive back. He was traded to the Steelers for 1946, where he appeared in three games as a running back. He retired after the 1946 season and later worked in medical sales in Pittsburgh.

Bonelli was selected to the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame, the Fox Chapel Area Hall of Fame and the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. He died on October 12, 2009 at age 90.


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