Died May 19,1998
Homer LeRoy Sanders was born in Marshall, Texas, in 1904. After graduating from high school in Weatherford, Texas, he attended Rice Institute in Houston, Texas, from 1922 to 1926. He was a member of the 111th Observation Squadron of the Texas National Guard from November 1923 to October 1927, serving as an enlisted man for three years and as a second lieutenant for one year.
Enlisting as a flying cadet on Oct. 31, 1927, General Sanders attended Primary Flying School at Brooks Field, Texas, and Advanced Flying School at Kelly Field, Texas, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserves. He received his Regular commission on Feb. 2, 1929. He was first assigned to Selfridge Field, Mich., with the 27th Pursuit Squadron and the 57th Service Squadron of the 1st Pursuit Group. In May 1930 he returned to the Primary Flying School at Brooks Field as a flying instructor, and later served in that capacity at Randolph Field, Texas.
Going to Hawaii in October 1934, General Sanders joined the 19th Pursuit Squadron of the 18th Pursuit Group at Schofield Barracks, Wheeler Field. He became the adjutant of the Sixth Pursuit Squadron at Wheeler Field, Hawaii in July 1935, and assumed command in September 1936. In December 1937 he was named operations officer of the 79th Pursuit Squadron at Barksdale Field; the following June he became operations and intelligence officer of the 55th Pursuit Squadron there, and in July 1939 assumed command of the squadron. The following April he entered the Air Corps Tactical School at Maxwell Field, Ala., graduated in June 1940, and rejoined his squadron at Moffett Field, Calif. In April 1941 he became commander of the 51st Fighter Group at Hamilton Field, Calif.
On Jan. 12, 1942, General Sanders left San Francisco with the 51st Fighter Group, which became the nucleus of the Tenth Air Force upon its arrival in India. He was named tactical inspector of the Third Fighter Command at Tampa, Fla., in May 1943. That August he joined the Eighth Fighter Command in the European Theater, assuming command of the Seventh Photo Reconnaissance Group, Eighth Air Force there the following month. In January 1944 he became commander of the 100th Fighter Wing, Ninth Air Force, in England and France, commanding the XIX Tactical Air Command from May to July 1945, and then resuming command of the 100th.
Returning to Barksdale Field in September 1945, General Sanders was named commander of the base, that December he became commanding general of Brooks Field, Texas, and two months later was reappointed commander of the XIX Tactical Air Command at Biggs Field, Texas. When the Ninth Air Force was reactivated the following month he became its commander. Entering the National War College at Washington, D.C., in August 1943, he graduated the following June.
Assigned to the 14th Air Force at Orlando Field, Fla., General Sanders was named deputy commander, becoming assistant chief of staff for operations of the 14th there in March 1948. Transferred to Air Force headquarters at Washington, D.C., that June, he was chief of the Fighter Branch, Requirements Division, and two months later was appointed chief of the Air Defense Requirements Division.
Joining the Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va., on April 18, 1950, General Sanders was named vice commander. He was appointed deputy commander for operations, TAC, there in January 1951, and the following month was given additional duty with the Plans Group, Armed Forces Special Weapons Project (relieved of additional duty in July 1951).
Ordered to Oslo, Norway, on Sept. 15, 1954, General Sanders became commander of the Allied Air Forces, Northern Europe, under the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
General Sanders assumed the post of the vice commander of Continental Air Command, Mitchel Air Force Base, N.Y. in September 1957. (ConAC trains the Air Force Reserve and inspects and supervises the training of the Air National Guard).
His decorations include the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster; French Legion of Honor (degree of legionnaire) and Croix do Guerre; Luxembourg Commander with Crown, Order of Adolph of Nassau and Croix de Guerree He is rated a command pilot.
Sports car enthusiast; golf player; fond of tinkering; finds release from mental tension in making things with his hands. (Mrs. Sanders still holds it up to him that he couldn't fix a clock many years ago - a clock even the manufacturer couldn't get to go.)
Family follows the Presbyterian faith.
Opinions, Tastes and Evaluations
Has no fetishes or phobias about food, clothing or other worldly items.
For travel, prefers Europe to any other area by far. For settling, likes desert country. The general will retire to the Southwest "where a man can drink a martini without getting his elbow jostled."
Types himself as one who calls a spade a spade; believes in a fair deal for everybody, and a man should perform good works without fanfare or ostentation.
Believes a gentleman is proved by his word alone, which is better than any contract.
The general has made his own way in life, having lost his parents when he was young.
General Sanders is considered a man of genial temper and marked enthusiasm, direct and definite with his associates. "There's no question where you stand with 'Tex'; he tells you."