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WWII Hero Honored With Purple Heart Posthumously

MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) – Nearly seven decades after U.S. Navy Pharmacist Mate Jack M. Savage died in action during World War II, he has been recognized for his bravery and service.

On Tuesday, U.S. Representative Frederica Wilson presented to Savage's son, Jack, a Purple Heart and eight other medals for bravery for his father who died October 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," said Wilson.

Jack Savage, who is 75 years old and hospitalized at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, contacted Wilson for help over a year ago.

Wilson contacted the Department of the Navy which found after reviewing Savage's record that in addition to the Purple Heart he was also entitled to Silver Star, 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).

"My father was one hell of a hero along with a lot of other great Americans," Savage said. "Every human being is proud of their father and their mother and they should be, not matter what; blood is blood."

According to the Department, a mortally wounded Savage refused treatment to ensure that his shipmates received first aid. His actions – at the cost of his own life – said officials, exemplified courage and honor and were in keeping with the Department's highest traditions.

Savage's son Jack said a decade-long battle has been won now that his father has finally received recognition for his sacrifice and bravery.

"You were determined and if I'm ever in a war, I want you on my side," Congresswoman Wilson said. "I can say that."

"Frederica, thank you very much. I appreciate it standing in for my late father," Savage said.

In the end, Savage hoped his dad would be as proud of him as he is of his father.

"I hope he would approve and I think he would approve," Savage said.

Savage never got to say goodbye to his father, who was buried at sea. But, Savage said the medals will help bring his family closure.

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