Former Army Ranger officer, NFL player gives up seat on overbooked flight

Pittsburg Steelers' left tackle, Alejandro Villanueva served in the U.S. Army as an Army Ranger with multiple combat deployments. (Photo credit: U.S. Army/Jeffrey Beall)

Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle and combat veteran Captain Alejandro Villanueva gave America just one more reason to love him when he gave up his seat on an overbooked flight to Spain, allowing a family to make the trip together.

The Army officer, former Ranger and Afghanistan War veteran was reportedly on his way to his Spain (while he was born in Mississippi, both of his parents are Spanish nationals) when it became apparent that a high school student on a school trip and her father -Ronald Hudak and daughter Maddie- had fallen victim to overbooking.

Without a second thought, Villanueva gave up his seat, refusing compensation after it was offered to him.

In regards to Villanueva’s actions, Hudak said “We were very appreciative!”

KDKA reporter Rick Walsh, “Steelers OL Al Villanueva gave up his seats at airport on overbooked flight to Spain so Pine Richland [High School] kids could go on trip.”

No stranger to selflessness, Villanueva is a West Point graduate who was commissioned in 2010 as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army Infantry. A graduate of Airborne and Ranger schools, Villanueva deployed once with the 10th Mountain (earning the Combat Infantry Badge and a Bronze Star with Valor) and twice with the 75th Ranger Regiment. He continues to serve in the US Army (presumably as a National Guardsman or Reservist) as a Captain.

Prior to playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, ”Ali” was a Philadelphia Eagle. His father is a former Naval Officer, albeit for the Spanish Navy.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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