In Memory

Thomas Maj Gen, Sadler VIEW PROFILE

Major General Thomas Sadler

General Sadler loved the Rhein Main Rockets (football team).

He was a former Rhein Main, 322nd and 21 AF Commander.

RIP Thomas Sadler.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Major General Thomas Sadler, who served as the executive director of Speedway Children’s Charities for two decades, died early Monday morning.

A devoted champion of children in need and a decorated war veteran, Sadler, 90, passed away peacefully in Mount Pleasant, S.C. Sadler bravely served his country for four decades then dedicated his life to serving children through Speedway Children’s Charities for nearly 25 years.

“Gen. Sadler was an outstanding man, not just for the sacrifices he made in service to his country, but also for the dedication he had for Speedway Children’s Charities,” said O. Bruton Smith, executive chairman of Speedway Motorsports, Inc. and founder of Speedway Children’s Charities. “I hired him a long time ago to grow our charity and to help children, and he did that every day he worked for me. Gen. Sadler often said, ‘When you look into the eyes of a child in need, you’re looking into the eyes of God.’ He was incredibly dedicated to making a difference for kids who may not have been able to help themselves. General, you will be greatly missed.”

A loving father and husband, Sadler was married to Mary Kenner Sadler, affectionately known as “Miss Ken,” for 57 years before she passed away in 2008. Sadler is survived by his son, Tommy, and daughter-in-law, Penny.

Born in 1925, in Canton, Ohio, Sadler’s family later moved to Montgomery, Alabama, where he graduated from high school in 1943. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse (New York) University in 1965, and a Master’s Degree from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., in 1970. He also completed Squadron Officer School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and the National War College, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C.

Sadler entered the Army Air Corps in August 1943 and was assigned in the European theater of operations as a B-17 nose gunner. He flew 35 combat missions with the 8th Air Force’s 92nd Bombardment Group. He was discharged in December 1945 and attended the University of Alabama until August 1948.

Returning to active duty in October 1948, Sadler entered the aviation cadet program at Waco, Texas. He graduated from advanced flying school and was commissioned a second lieutenant in September 1949. From June 1950 to August 1951, Sadler served in South Korea where he flew 300 combat missions. He then returned to the 50th Troop Carrier Squadron at Sewart Air Force Base. In 1955, he transferred to Evreux Air Base, France, where he served with the 317th Troop Carrier Wing as commander of the 317th Tactical Command Post.

Sadler returned to Sewart Air Force Base in April 1959 where he served as a C-130 flight commander with the 774th Troop Carrier Squadron. In May 1961, he transferred to Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, as an instructor in the Tactical Air Command Joint Air Ground Operations School. During the Cuban crisis in 1962, he was assigned to the Tactical Air Command advanced echelon at Homestead Air Force Base, Florida.

From December 1962 to January 1965, he was assigned to Headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, as an operations staff officer. During 1965, he attended the University of Syracuse under the Bootstrap program. Following graduation in October 1965, Sadler again was assigned to the 317th Troop Carrier Wing, which was at Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio.

He traveled to the Republic of Vietnam in January 1966 and served for a year with the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) as an air liaison officer and forward air controller, flying 0-1s. He spent another six months in the Republic of Vietnam as an air liaison officer with the 834th Air Division where he developed and organized the emergency airlift system and tactical airlift liaison officer operations for 7th Air Force.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (September 8, 2015) - The Petty family is saddened to hear of the passing of Major General Thomas Sadler (USAF). Sadler, a decorated hero of our country, served as the Executive Director of Speedway Children’s Charities for two decades and helped raise millions of dollars for children in need. “Major General Thomas Sadler was a true hero, not only for his service to our country, but also for his service to countless children and their families he helped aid during his time at Speedway Children’s Charities,” said Rebecca Moffitt, Executive Director, Petty Family Foundation. “It’s that dedication, loyalty and spirit that lives on with the charity today and one that the Petty Family and Petty Family Foundation hopes to emulate through our work.” - See more at:


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