Monday, May 26, 2008


I'm not sure I'll always be able to do it, but I'd like to pay tribute on Memorial Day and Veterans' Day with salutes to TV characters who have served our country, as stand-ins for those in the real world who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and many times did so.

This year for Memorial Day I'm honoring the memory of Brigadier General Frank Savage of the Army Air Force, seen in the series '12 O'Clock High'. Savage was in charge of the 918th Heavy Bombardment Group which was part of the 8th Bomber Command of the US Eighth Air Force. (There's one of "The Numbers" from 'Lost' again.) The 918th was situated just outside Archbury, England, and General Savage was asked by General Pritchard to take its command at some point during 1942.

General Savage was tough as nails in his determination to build the 918th into the best bomb group of all the Eighth Air Force. This meant that he could often ride his men hard to produce their best, even if it meant that he wouldn't be popular with them. Many times he was as far from being sympathetic or sentimental as one could be. But Savage was always willing to give a man in his outfit the benefit of the doubt, and they would respond by making sure they gave 100% in return for the faith that he showed in them.

In 1944, Brigadier General Frank Savage was shot down over German-held territory. He had already been severely wounded in a bombing run and they were just hoping to limp home with the plane in one piece. Unfortunately, German infiltrators insinuated themselves into the group with a captured B-17 and once accepted, they proceeded to attack the other planes in the formation. Savage's plane went down with only one survivor.

The Germans considered Savage as an enemy to be treated with respect and admiration for his skills and leadership. When they recovered his body, the Germans made sure that Savage was buried at Verdennes with the highest honors possible.

In February of this year, I posted a Theory of Relateeveety about Frank Savage. It was my belief that he was the grandfather of NASA Commander Chuck Taggart from 'Odyssey 5'. Of course, Savage never got to meet his grandson; he probably was killed in combat before his daughter even married.

All of that about his personal life is speculation, of course, but I don't see any reason why it would be contested.

So here's a tip of the hat to you, Brigadier General Frank Savage. I think many televisiologists would agree that the 918th was never again the same, that it lost something special when they lost you....

Toby OB

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