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Sam's Circus--The Facts Behind the Story


Since this CBS pilot for a one-hour WW II dramatic show was purely fiction; not based on any real unit or event, I had a blank check to design the parent unit and the rifle squad involved. Because the intent was to follow a basic Army infantry squad fighting in the ETO, I chose a typical outfit. No Rangers, no Paratroopers; just basic grunts.

We decided that the unit should be 3rd Squad, 2nd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry of the 1st Infantry Division. This specific designation was only important to the actors to give them a home within the Big Red One. They wore the division on their shoulders in the pilot. The unit was led by a sergeant named Sam and the squad was known in Charlie Company as 'Sam's Circus.'