Salutes & Awards

March 21, 2014

WWII vet returns 70 years after earning wings at Luke

Lt. Col. Chris Bacon, 308th Fighter Squadron commander, coins 1st Lt. Ken Sadick, a World War II veteran, March 15 at Luke Air Force Base’s Open House and Air Show. Sadick, 90, graduated from Luke Field in March 1944, receiving his wings exactly 70 years ago this month.

The Luke Air Force Base Open House and Air Show is not only a great opportunity for the public to experience the capabilities of the Air Force, but it also draws many who have served their country to reminisce on their active-duty days while checking out their old planes on display. For one World War II veteran, the return to Luke was particularly special.

Nearly 90 years old, Kenneth Sadick, a WWII pilot, returned to Luke on March 15 for the open house and air show exactly 70 years after being awarded his wings at the Army Air Corps’ Luke Field. “It’s a nostalgic feeling to be back here,” he said. “It’s a very patriotic feeling. Seeing all the jets and people who make things happen here leaves me with one feeling – pride.”

Sadick enlisted after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. He, along with most young people at the time, were united in their desire to take the fight to the Japanese, Sadick said. To his dismay, he was sent instead to Germany to fight.

“It wasn’t my first choice, but I was still excited to take the fight to the enemy,” he said.

Sadick flew more than 70 combat missions during WWII in his P-47 Thunderbolt with his wife’s name, Norma, painted on its side. He recalls one of his first missions during which he learned an important lesson about protecting what the Air Force now calls personally identifiable information.

“When I was first in Germany, I hadn’t completed 10 missions yet, when I was coming out of a dive bomb run and got hit by a German 20mm through the left wing,” he said. “I got so excited I got on the radio and said, ‘Colonel Morsey, this is Sadick, I’ve been hit.’ I heard no response. I made it back and got called into the colonel’s office. ‘The Germans already know enough about us. When we’re on the radio, I am Red 1.’”

Another mission left Sadick alone and out of gas.

“It was 1944. We were going on a long-range mission into Germany,” he said. “We used additional external fuel tanks for the distance. When I released a bomb I also dropped the extra fuel tank so we could get a little extra boom. When coming out of the dive my engine quit. Everyone else continued back while I tried to think fast about what was happening. I found that my fuel supply switch had been moved to the external tanks that I just dropped. I switched to my internal tanks and it kicked back on in time to recover.”

Upon hearing of Sadick’s reunion with his training base, Lt. Col. Chris Bacon, 308th Fighter Squadron commander, wanted to meet the war hero.

“These guys are our heroes,” Bacon said. “These are the ones who pushed me to become a fighter pilot. It was an honor to get to speak with this WWII fighter pilot.”

Bacon honored the hero by performing the military tradition of coining Sadick. “Being able to recognize a hero from WWII is an honor for me,” Bacon said. “We truly walk in the shadows of the giants who came before us.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Lightning II debrief …

Staff Sgt. Staci Miller Senior Airman Roger Combs, 61st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, downloads information from an F-35 Lightning II engine at Luke Air Force Base. Since 2010, more than 1,800 maintainers have been trained on the F-35. The first production F-35A rolled out of assembly in February 2006 in Fort Worth, Texas. Later...
 
 
Courtesy graphic

Commons provides ‘crib’ for Airmen

Courtesy graphic The Community Commons concept design. Renovation has begun and will be completed in May 2016. The Luke Air Force Base Community Center, Bldg. 700, where the 56th Aerospace Medicine Squadron Wellness Center resi...
 
 

How do you stack up?

With upcoming changes to the enlisted performance report and Air Force promotion system, it’s important to understand how you stack up against your peers, not only within your job, but within your unit as well. The days of receiving time in grade and time in service points are numbered. They are being replaced with a...
 

 

CCAF offers jump on education

The Community College of the Air Force was established in 1972 to recognize academic achievements for technical training by Air Force schools. It awards an associate in applied science degree to enlisted members of the active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve Command who have completed the course work. Degree programs are...
 
 
Johnny Saldivar

Roberson takes command of AETC

Johnny Saldivar Lt. Gen Darryl Roberson, Air Education and Training Command commander, speaks during the AETC change of command ceremony Tuesday at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas. Roberson is a command pilot who has mor...
 
 
4_150710-F-NQ441-5x7-036

Salutes and Awards

FWSA announce awards The following individuals are quarterly awards winners: 56th Fighter Wing Staff Agencies Airman: Senior Airman Leanne Mathews NCO: Staff Sgt. Natalie Nelson Senior NCO: Master Sgt. Deanna Commack Company gr...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>