This article contains spoilers for Masters of the Air.
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- The character Meatball in Masters of the Air is based on a real dog that lived with the 100th Bomb Group during World War II.
- Meatball got into trouble after killing a local chicken, John “Bucky” Egan, paid for the chicken to save Meatball’s skin.
- In Masters of the Air, Meatball does not die and lives a successful life after the war.
In the very first episode of the war drama Masters of the Air, the series introduced a character that no one would expect from a series about World War II, but as it turns out, this character is very much true to history. Masters of the Air is a war drama created by World War II television duo Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, who previously worked on Band of Brothers and The Pacific. The series follows the 100th Bomb Group of World War II, often called the “Bloody Hundredth” due to the serious losses they suffered in spring 1943.
During Masters of the Air episode 1, there are two brief cameos of a very unlikely character: a husky named Meatball. His first appearance occurs in the first half of the episode, when Captain Bernard DeMarco gets off his plane at Thorpe Abbotts. John “Bucky” Egan is surprised by the dog, and Gale “Buck” Cleven explains that they picked him up on the way over to England. Meatball appears once more while the soldiers are eating breakfast on the morning of their first mission. DeMarco tells the dog that he will have to sit this flight out.
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Yes, Meatball The Dog Was Real: Here’s His World War 2 Story
As it turns out, Meatball is not just a fun addition to Masters of the Air cast, but in fact, was a real dog that lived with the 100th Bomb Group throughout the war. Though it is unclear who exactly took ownership of the dog in real life, Meatball was an actual husky that the 100th found in Labrador and took in as their own. Without question, they brought him to Thorpe Abbotts with them, and it was there that the dog remained until the end of the war.
There is not too much information about Meatball the husky, however, there is one interesting story about him as recorded by the 100th Bomb Group Foundation. Under the profile of John “Bucky” Egan, it reads that Meatball had been kindly taken in by the 100th Bomb Group, but he was not always a good boy. In fact, in the midst of some difficult times for the unit, Meatball got into trouble after killing a local chicken. The chicken’s farmer was upset by this and confronted Egan, who ultimately paid for the chicken personally, saving Meatball’s skin.
Does Meatball Die In Masters Of The Air?
In the end, Meatball’s fate is unconfirmed, although there are no reports of his death. Therefore, there remains hope that the husky survived the war and was taken care of after 1945. This would make sense as well, since the 100th were happy enough to bring Meatball with them to Thorpe Abbotts, but did not want to risk the dog’s life by bringing him on missions. Therefore, the end of Masters of the Air will hopefully see Meatball remaining safe on base, and after the war, being taken in either by one of the 100th or an English local.