MIAMI BEACH — U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., on Tuesday presented the son of World War II Chief Pharmacist Mate Jack M. Savage with a Purple Heart and eight other medals for bravery 68 years after Savage was killed in action on Oct. 24, 1944.
“It is an honor to pay tribute to Chief Pharmacist Mate Jack M. Savage, an American war hero, who gave his life in battle so that we may enjoy the freedoms we have today,” Wilson said.
Savage’s son, Jack, who is 75 years old and hospitalized at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, contacted Wilson for help getting the medal more than a year ago, Wilson’s office said.
Wilson immediately contacted the Department of the Navy on Savage’s behalf.
Navy officials responded recently, saying that, after a review of Savage’s service personnel record, he was entitled to several medals.
They included the Silver Star, Purple Heart, Navy Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with one silver and one bronze Star, European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with one bronze star, Combat Action Ribbon and an Honorable Service Lapel Pin (Ruptured Duck).
Savage, although mortally wounded, continued to refuse his own treatment to ensure that his shipmates got first aid, the Navy said. His actions, at the cost of his own life, said Navy officials, exemplified courage and honor and were in keeping with the department’s highest traditions.
Savage was also entitled to the Philippine Liberation Medal with one bronze star and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation. However, because those are foreign awards, they must be obtained through the embassy of the Philippines Office of Veteran Affairs.
For Jack Savage, presentation of the medals ended a decade-long effort to ensure that his father finally received recognition for his sacrifice and bravery.
During the ceremony in the eighth floor conference room of the De Hirsch Meyer Tower at Mount Sinai Medical Center, 4300 Alton Road, Wilson presented Jack Savage with a Gold Star lapel button from the Navy. The lapel pin symbolizes that he is the next of kin of a member of the armed forces who lost his life during World War II as a result of armed hostilities. The purple background symbolizes that his father was awarded the Purple Heart.
“Words cannot express my gratitude and that of the American people for the ultimate sacrifice made by men and women like Chief Pharmacist Mate Jack M. Savage,” Wilson said.
Photo: Courtesy of staff photographer at Mount Sinai Medical Center
HONORED FOR BRAVERY: U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, center, on Tuesday presented the Purple Heart and several other military honors posthumously to World War II Chief Pharmacist Mate Jack M. Savage. The medals were received by his son Jack Savage, right, at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach. At left is Mount Sinai president/CEO Steven Sonenreich.