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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
John P. Sager
Rear Adm. John Parke Sager was born in Burt Lake, Michigan on June 28, 1912 and graduated from the University of Michigan with both a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in engineering.
He completed flight training and was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1936. In 1940, he reported to the Naval Reserve Air Base in Grosse Ile, Michigan. From there he became the Officer in Charge of Flight Test Aero Engine Laboratory at the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia in September.
While there, he did the first high altitude (over 40,000 feet) service testing of Naval Aircraft using an oxygen mask he designed and built himself. While serving in World War II as Material and War Plans Officer on the Staff of Commander Aircraft, Seventh Fleet, he was awarded the Legion of Merit for meritorious conduct during operations against Japanese forces in the Southwest Pacific. He was also awarded the Air Medal for meritorious achievement in aerial flight.
After tours of duty in Washington, D.C. Alameda, California and the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Sager returned to Philadelphia in 1953 to serve as executive officer, later commanding officer, of the Naval Air Experimental Station and then reported as Bureau of Aeronautics Representative, St. Louis. The next two years saw him as assistant chief of staff for Material to Commander Fleet Air, Western Pacific and Commander Fleet Air, Japan.
Upon his return to the United States, Sager became the director of the Aircraft Division followed by the director of Logistics Programs. In 1961, he reported for duty as Assistance Force Material Officer in Coronado, CA. Selected for rear admiral in 1964, he held several positions until 1967 when he was appointed as vice commander of the Naval Air Systems Command Headquarters.
Sager retired from the Navy in 1969. In addition to the Legion of Merit and the Air Medal, Sager was awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with Silver Star, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with bronze star and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon. Sager was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on April 19, 2008.