Retired July 1, 1979. Died April 9, 1988.
Major General Robert E. Sadler is commander of the Air Force Communications Service. From its headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., AFCS manages Air Force responsibilities for programming, engineering, installation, operation and maintenance for communications-electronics-meteorological facilities and services on a global basis. Among these are long-haul intercontinental as well as local base communications circuits and systems, air traffic control services, air navigation facilities, and meteorological sensing and reporting equipment.
Born in 1925 in Eagle Grove, Iowa, General Sadler graduated from Clinton High School, Clinton, Iowa, in 1942, and joined the Enlisted Reserve Corps in 1943. In September of that year, General Sadler entered active service as an aviation cadet and was commissioned as a second lieutenant upon graduation from navigator training at Hondo Army Air Field, Texas, in February 1945. After attending radar school at Victorville, Calif., General Sadler was assigned to operational flying units with B-29 aircraft at Alamogordo, Clovis and Roswell, N.M.
He graduated from the aircraft observer/bombardier school at Mather Field, Calif., in October 1947, a member of the first class of triple-rated observers, and subsequently served as executive officer for the director of training of that school.
From December 1948 to September 1950 and from July 1951 to August 1955, General Sadler served in a variety of assignments and positions as an editor and editorial director of Air Force training publications pertaining to flying and flying training. During this period, he wrote and edited the Air Navigation Manuals, developed several radar and in-flight maintenance manuals and was a member of the editorial staff of Navigator magazine. Between September 1950 and July 1951, he was the wing navigator for the B-29 combat crew school at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.
In August 1955, General Sadler was selected to attend the Royal Canadian Air Force Specialist Navigation School at Winnipeg as an exchange student. July 1956 brought reassignment to the U.S. Air Force Academy where, serving as chief of advanced flying training, he developed the curriculum and supervised instruction for the cadet second and first class navigation training programs. In September 1959, he entered the University of Colorado and was graduated in 1961 with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering.
In July of 1961, General Sadler was transferred to Scott Air Force Base, Ill., for his first tour of duty with the then newly formed Air Force Communications Service. Assigned to the headquarters, he served first as chief of equipment engineering and later as an advanced plans action officer. In these assignments, he was involved with communications satellite planning and performed temporary duty as the communications plans officer for Task Group 8.4, the Air Force element of the DOMINIC series of nuclear testing. During this tour at Scott, General Sadler also served as chief of test and evaluation and as the AFCS command briefing officer.
General Sadler graduated from the Air War College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., in June 1967, and was assigned to the directorate of Command Control and Communications, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. While with Headquarters U.S. Air Force, General Sadler served as an action officer, chief of the Program Management Branch, Deputy Chief and Chief of the Plans and Programs Division.
During 1970 and 1971, General Sadler held a triadic position while assigned in the Republic of Vietnam. He was deputy commander of Southeast Asia Communications Region (mainland), deputy chief of Staff for communications-electronics for Seventh Air Force, and commander, 1964th Communications Group at Tan Son Nhut Air Base. This was General Sadler's second assignment wearing the AFCS patch.
In July 1971, he assumed command of AFCS' Northern Communications Area, with headquarters at Griffiss Air Force Base, N.Y. During this tour, he was nominated for promotion to brigadier general. In August of 1972, he was named director, communications-electronics (J-6) for the U.S. Readiness Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla. General Sadler became the vice commander of AFCS, which by that time was headquartered at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base, Mo., in March 1974.
In August of 1974, General Sadler returned to Washington, D.C., for duty as deputy director of command control and communications, Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Programs and Resources, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. Ten months later, General Sadler was assigned to the Joint Staff, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as the director for communications-electronics (J-6). He was assigned to the Defense Communications Agency, Arlington, Va., in August 1976 as deputy director for plans and programs. On Oct. 31, 1977, General Sadler assumed his present command, and on Nov. 1, 1977 established AFCS Headquarters at its present home on Scott Air Force Base.
His military decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with oak leaf cluster and valor device. General Sadler is a master navigator.
He was promoted to the grade of major general June 1, 1975, with date of rank July 1, 1972.