2LT Godfrey Joseph Savard
Company A, 339th Infantry Regiment,
85th Infantry Division, 5th Army
-- Bill Chiodo --
Fred Savard was born in Quebec, Canada in 1915. His family moved to Hartford, Connecticut in 1920. After high school, still during the depression, Fred became a delivery man for Kraft Cheese Company.
He was very successful in that career and was made a Supervisor of other Kraft sales people. He was listed as a supervisor at the time of his being drafted. He started his basic training at Camp Fannin
in Texas and was made a US citizen during his Texas stay.
Fred and Mildred Skidd met in 1938 and dated until they married in 1940. A famous tale of Fred walking to Mill's home during the famous 1938 hurricane is still told in our family. Fred and Mill wed in 1940
and had a storybook life until he was inducted in 1943. Mill, and son Billy moved to Pittsfield, Massachusetts to stay with Mill's mom and dad during his military service. Later, on furlough, on his way
overseas in January of 1944, he visited Mill and Billy in Pittsfield.
Between the time Billy was born in July of 1943 Fred had only spent two months with Billy and Mill before reporting for induction. Beside that period, and the furlough visit in early 1944, were the only times
Fred spent with Billy. After his death, over the years, Mill fell into deep depression and suffered from severe alcoholism. She subsequently died of cirrhosis in 1959. She never shared the facts of his death
with Billy, her family or his family, and she never received survivors' compensation from the VA.
Fred's military service was stellar. His first stop after leaving the US was North Africa where training for Italian service was accomplished. Shipped to Naples, he ended up assigned to the 339th Infantry
Regiment (named the Polar Bears because of its service in north Russia in WW I). The Regiment was then located west of Monte Cassino. Slightly wounded during the DIADEM offensive push for Rome in May, Fred
was awarded the Purple Heart and was promoted to Sergeant because of demonstrated leadership abilities. By the time the 339th had occupied the mountainous area south of Bologna several months later, Fred had
earned two more stripes, been decorated with the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, the Combat Infantryman's Badge as well as the French Croix de Guerre. In March, 1945 he was discharged as an enlisted man and
was assigned to Officers Candidate School where he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in June,1945.
By that time the war in Europe had ended. Fred didn't have enough "points" to be sent home immediately, and was assigned back again with the 339th, then to a Petroleum Transportation Company until he was
projected to be rotated back to the US in the autumn of 1945.
At this point Fred's career was dramatically changed. The several alternatives offered to explain his death were: he committed suicide over guilt for stealing PX money as the Army CID alleges, he suffered
from combat fatigue/PTSD, and he decided to end his life, or (the one I believe in my heart of hearts) he was murdered by his comrades, in the behind-the-lines petroleum support unit, when he uncovered their
black market activities, quite rampant in Italy then. All of these have some credence, and evidence of each of them occurring exists.
In any event, he died in Livorno, Italy on the afternoon of October 22, 1945 from a pistol shot to the head.
Someday I'll learn the real circumstances of his death. In the meantime,I believe he was a very heroic man with noble qualities who gave his life for his country like so many others of that era. I don't
care what the record says, he was my hero.
In his memory,