Churchville pilot retires from NY National Guard
New York Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 4 James Sauer, of Churchville, an Army aviator with more than 6,000 hours in the air, capped his 40-year career with a traditional military final flight.
The Afghanistan War veteran was greeted on return with a salute from airport fire trucks and a line of well-wishers congratulating him.
Sauer started his military career in 1979 as an armored crewman on an M60A1 main battle tank as a loader/driver. He completed his initial training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, before serving in Schwabach, Germany, where he rotated to the Czechoslovakian border for security missions.
Sauer attended Warrant Officer Flight School at Fort Rucker, Alabama, in 1987. Upon graduation as a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot, he served in South Korea until 1989 as a medical evacuation pilot. Sauer completed more than 110 medevac missions while overseas, including shipboard transfers and field site pickups.
Sauer was assigned to Fort Drum from 1989 to 1993 as an assault helicopter pilot with the 10th Mountain Division, conducting field training exercises and multi-ship operations. He deployed for counter-drug operations along the U.S. southwest border and deployed in 1993 to Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope.
Sauer left active duty in 1993 and entered the New York Army National Guard as a traditional guardsman in 1995, serving as an assault helicopter pilot with the 3rd Battalion, 142nd Aviation Regiment in Latham. He participated in aviation training events focused on the newly fielded UH-60 aircraft.
He completed a fixed-wing aircraft transition course in 2000 and was reassigned to the C-12 detachment in Latham. Sauer conducted flight missions in support of operations that included missions in Central and South America. He deployed with the detachment in 2009 to Afghanistan as part of Task Force ODIN.
In 2010, Sauer completed the instructor pilot course and returned to perform duties as a unit instructor pilot. He deployed in 2014, supporting missions on the Horn of Africa in Djibouti.
Sauer is employed with the New York State Police as a civilian pilot assigned to its Aviation Unit in Rochester. He served approximately nine years with the Rochester Police Department as a patrolman.