Sergeant Chip Saunders’ World War II exploits were chronicled in a 1960s television series, Combat!!, a reality show decades ahead of its time. The documentary series is available at Amazon here and here. A generation of youth grew up following tales of his experiences. Many of his peers found reward in hearing of his journey across Europe.
After he withdrew from public life for a season, this blogger is pleased to report that Sgt. Saunders is still at work, doing a little double dipping to increase his pension when he eventually retires.
Where is he now?
He keeps a low profile, but is currently a supervisor in the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank. I was able to track him down after a recent PR piece from the Richmond Fed unintentionally gave me a hint of his location. I can now confirm that formerly Sgt. Saunders is now a Lieutenant supervising a Quick Reaction Force in the Richmond Fed’s Law Enforcement Unit.
He continues to use a trusty, battle-proven .45 caliber automatic rifle as his personal weapon as he again leads a squad protecting American national resources.
Tracking down the WWII hero
Here’s the clue followed to track down Lt. Saunders: Vintage Thompson Machine Gun. The Richmond Fed has two of the trustworthy Thompsons in the Law Enforcement Unit’s inventory.
I wanted to include a copy of the announcement so you can see former-Sgt. Saunders personal weapon, but the photo contains a note that it is copyright protected. I reached out to the Richmond Fed on 3/21 for permission. Got an acknowledgement but the legal eagles didn’t get back to me in time for publication. They did know I was on deadline, so I guess they had more important things to do than respond to my reprint request. Imagine that. So, you will just have to check out the link yourself. Nice pic, by the way.
When this blog reached out to now-Lt. Saunders for comment on any retirement plans, he indicated that even though having recently celebrated his 90th birthday, he has no immediate plans to retire.
I asked if he keeps in contact with any of the guys from his old platoon, King Two. He sadly said they are all gone. He particularly misses Lt Hanley, having kept in very close touch with him over the years.
Citing operational security issues, he declined to respond to my request whether the unit has Little John’s BAR in the armory. Those new fangled ARs and C-4 carbines are nice, but there’s nothing quite like a BAR if the squad gets into a jam.
Since the Fed’s press release wasn’t made available by deadline, this article will have to settle for a ‘60s promo shot from the documentary. It isn’t used with permission, but is presented claiming fair use (also keep in mind I’m promoting your product!).
Here is then-Sgt. Saunders with his favorite weapon then. And now:
Update: In case you hadn’t noticed, please check the date this post was published.