A big part of Muhammad Ali’s life story is about what happened when he took a stand and refused to be drafted during the war in Vietnam.
This is a story about a boxer who did go to war.
Robert Carmody wasn’t a heavyweight slugger. He didn’t have Ali’s size or charisma, and his voice squeaked when he spoke.
But Bob Carmody could fight.
Carmody got into enough scraps while serving in the U.S. Army in Germany in the late 1950s that he was eventually taken into the Army boxing program. Once there, he blossomed, fighting all across Europe.
He was good enough to make the 1964 Olympic team, all 5-foot-2 and 112 pounds of him. Good enough that the heavyweight on the team, a fighter by the name of Joe Frazier , took a particular liking to him.
"He had quick hands, very fast," said Ken Adams, who fought Carmody twice when both were in the Army and would later become the coach of the U.S. Olympic boxing team in 1988. "We called him The Moose. Robert ‘The Moose’ Carmody."
The war in Vietnam was just heating up when the U.S. team headed to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. There were 23,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam by the end of the year, and 216 had died. America was just coming to terms with the growing war, and those in the service were beginning to realize the country most had never heard of before was a place they might end up.
Carmody won his spot on the Olympic team with an upset win in the finals of the qualifying at the New York World’s Fair. There were high hopes for the…