Skip to content

Claude Albert Savage Recognized as Veteran of the Week

House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, on Monday recognized World War II veteran Claude Albert Savage, of Finley, OK, as the Veteran of the Week in the Oklahoma House of Representatives.
Savage served in the United States Navy from March 30, 1944 to May 20, 1946 as a seaman 1st class, Special Forces Armed Guard. He served on the Cape Bon and Bartlesville Victory Merchant Marine ships as a gunner and security officer.
Each week during the legislative session, the House recognizes a Veteran of the Week. It is the privilege of the speaker to recognize the first veteran each session. Monday was the first day of the 2022 legislative session.
“Mr. Savage served our country well during a time when our nation faced great peril,” McCall said. “It was a pleasure to get to recognize him before the House of Representatives and our guests. I am ever grateful for his distinguished service, his sacrifice and duty and that of all of our veterans.”
Rep. Justin Humphrey, R-Lane, assisted in presenting the honor and spoke on Savage’s behalf before the House.
Claude Albert Savage, now 96, was born in Kosoma, OK on Jan. 22, 1926 to William Clarence and Bennie “Redpath” Savage.  After completing high schook, he worked with his family in the timber industry in Weed, N.M.
On March 30, 1944, he was inducted into the United States Navy in Alamogordo, N.M. and reported for training in San Diego for basic training and gunnery school.
His first duty station was at Treasure Island in San Francisco, where he boarded the USS Cape Bon. This ship was a Victory Class Merchant Marine ship tasked with logistical support of war operations, carrying troops and materiel to the South Pacific.
After six months, Savage was transferred to the USS Bartlesville Victory, another Victory Class ship purchased by the sale of $1 million of U.S. war bonds by the City of Bartlesville, OK. Savage was part of a naval unit assigned to security and protection of these ships, providing logistical support which was integral to the United States success in the Pacific theatre. In these assignments, he repelled and survived submarine attacks, torpedoes attacks, typhoons and attacks from air kamikaze pilots.
While serving in the Pacific theatre of operations, sailors received news that President Roosevelt had died and Savage’s home town of Antlers, Ok, had been decimated by a large tornado on April 12, 1945.
His concern for his fellow service men and his family was overwhelming, for the loss of his nation’s leader and his family’s safety.
Savage recalls in the battle of Okinawa the waters were covered with battle ships, carriers, destroyers and all kinds of support craft as far as the eye could see. For 13 days and nights the sailors endured a continuous barrage of naval gunfire and Japanese air craft attacks, including kamikaze attacks.
During the battle, while returning to California to re-supply, the sailors of the USS Bartlesville were notified that the war had ended. However, Savage’s service was not yet over.
He continued to serve for another year to provide logistical support for American forces remaining in theatre, and ferrying home troops mustering out to return to post war life.
Savage’s final cruise home included a journey from Tokyo to India, from there through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic to Charleston, N.C. completing his wartime voyage of 28,000 miles to the United States.
His final port destination was Savannah, Ga, where he and another gunner transitioned their ship’s commission from wartime to peace time by removing all of the guns from the USS Bartlesville. From there, he received a 30-day pass home where he met his future bride, Ann Hodnett, at a local dance in Finley, Ok.
Upon completing leave, he returned to Treasure Island, San Diego, where he received his Honorable Discharge from Naval service on May 20, 1946.
Returning home, Savage began a marriage of 69 years with his wife Ann, having three children, six grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and  13 great-great grandchildren in One Creek Valley just north of Finley in Pushmataha County. Together, he and Ann managed a successful logging contracting business and ClaudeAnn’s Fabric & Retail Business before retiring.
As a result of Savage’s WWII Service, he was profiled in a documentary that will be available in the Normandy Victory WWII Memorial Museum at Omaha Beach in France.
On Feb. 7, Savage was presented with a citation in the House of Representatives as well as a flag that had been flown over the State Capitol in his honor.

Leave a Comment