Adjutant General's Corps Regimental Association

Richard Saddler: Soldier, Spouse, Father, Musician

In April of 2020, the Saddler family and the United States Army lost a remarkable man. Richard Nathaniel Saddler passed away at the age of 89, previously serving his country for over 41 years. He was born in Irondale, Alabama, and later moved to Detroit, Michigan where he studied trumpet at Wayne State University. In July of 1952, he was drafted into the Army and upon completion of basic training was assigned to the 298th Army Band of Berlin, Germany. During his time there he met his life-long spouse Hannelore. It was turbulent times in Germany as half the country was oppressed under communist control. Richard would return to Germany multiple times in his career forging remarkable connections with the communities surrounding the Army bases there.

Mr. Saddler continued his musical education throughout his 15 years as an enlisted Soldier, studying with luminary brass players Mel Broiles (New York Metropolitan Opera, West Point Band) and John Coffey (Boston Symphony Orchestra). During this time, he served in Bands stationed at: Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Fort Devens, Massachusetts, Stuttgart, Germany, and Fort Ord, California.

Specialist Saddler plays the trumpet for a Soldier dance in Germany

 

President Nixon praises CW2 Saddler for an excellent band performance while commanding the 282nd Army Band, For Jackson, SC.

In 1967, Richard Saddler was appointed as a Warrant Officer and assigned to the 282nd Army Band, Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Soon after arriving, he led the band in support of the Vice President and later, President Nixon. Even after being an Army Band Soldier for many years, everything changes when you are the one holding the baton. Richard was keen reader of people, his outgoing nature surely served him well when interacting with high-ranking officials and the public at large.

 

 

 

The summer of 1969, was turbulent time for the United States, and Mr. Saddler found himself in charge of the 1st Cavalry Division Band providing music for troops in Vietnam. In November 1969, the band was giving one of its firebase concerts which were designed to give variety and entertainment to the otherwise repetitive days of jungle outposts. Upon being fired on, from the nearby jungle, the band had to drop their instruments and take up their M-16s. Following the fire fight, they returned to continue their concert. The timing of this event lines up with Mr. Saddler’s command, but this story cannot be corroborated. However, his son (Colonel (R) Richard Saddler), relayed stories of multiple times his father had to hit the dirt/mud during firefights. It was common practice during the Vietnam War for Army Musicians to serve in perimeter security roles along with their primary mission of playing music.

Mr. Saddler connects with local Vietnamese during an outreach concert.

 

The newspaper of Aberdeen Proving Ground reported on Chief Saddler’s assumption of command of the 324th Army Band in 1970. The writer highlights the band capturing a North Vietnamese lieutenant after getting close to their camp to hear the band’s music. Once again, the band under Saddler’s leadership was a direct contributor to the fight as Soldiers and musicians. Richard knew that music is a binding force that can lift spirits and bring people together. He made sure to bring music to as many troops as possible and along the way interacting with a diverse range of communities.

From Vietnam to the Cold War front in Berlin, Germany, Chief Saddler and his troops made their mark on history. Chief Warrant Officer 5 (R) Dave Ratliff remembers his time serving under Saddler: “…we raised the United States flag at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in East Berlin, and provided music for all the Americans stationed on that side of the wall…..He gave the crowd what they wanted to hear and then he took them on a journey.  The stage band, rock combo, and concert band entertained the crowd to thunderous ovations and encores.  His interaction with the audience is the primary lesson I learned.” Saddler was a mentor to many and truly understood what it meant to take care of Soldiers and their Families.

Connecting with a student audience in Germany

The 298th Army Band (Berlin Brigade) was a unit famous for its ability to connect the U.S. Military to the people of Germany, when their country was divided by communism. The town of Einhausen was particularly welcoming and through the band’s performances a long-term trust was built. Often alumni from the band would go back to Einhausen to perform and share memories with the community.

After his time in Germany, Mr. Saddler served the rest of his career with the 392nd Army Band at Fort Lee, Virginia and the 74th Army Band, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. There he continued being an inspiring mentor and leader, helping Soldiers not only join the Army Band but shepherd them through their career. He retired from the Army in 1993, as a Master Warrant Officer 4, the highest warrant officer rank at the time.

COL (R) Saddler remembers his father spending many nights writing and arranging music. Often with his German-style concertina (reed-bellows instrument) by his side. Dick Saddler was a man who learned music from some of the best teachers and used his love of music in service of others through the Army. His kind spirit served him well in taking care of those under his command. The combination of music and Army training allowed him to lead troops in combat environments and high-pressure ceremonies for dignitaries. He is remembered fondly by the hundreds of Soldier-Musicians he served with and led. Mr. Saddler has left an incredible legacy to the United States Army, The Adjutant General’s Corps, and the Army Band community.

Richard N. Saddler is survived by his loving wife, Hannelore Lilli Saddler; children, Susan Starks, Colonel (R) Richard Saddler, and Yvonne Glover; grandchildren, Dr. Sabina Holland, Alisha Saddler, Lindsey Saddler, Derrick Glover, Eric Glover, and Donald Glover; sister, Jeanne Saddler; and brother, Daryl Saddler.

 

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AGCRA Supports the Warrant Officer Centennial

Fort Jackson, SC. The Fort Jackson community is planning a Warrant Officer 100th Birthday Celebration on July 9, 2018.  Participants will start off the day with a 5 mile run/3 mile walk at the Riverwalk Park.  It will be a release run/walk so it’s at your own pace.  Everyone is encouraged to  wear their favorite warrant officer T-shirt.  A group photo around 0700 is also planned.  A lunch will be held at the NCO Club on Fort Jackson with  CW5(ret) David Ratliff as the guest speaker. Chief Ratliff is a retired band warrant, and former civilian operations support staff for the Adjutant General School.  He also serves the Adjutant General’s Corps Regimental Association as the Vice President of Awards .  Active, Reserve and National Guard Warrant Officers are encouraged to submit pictures doing warrant officer duties to the National Guard Senior Warrant Officer liaison, CW5 Jill E. Graham.  Selected pictures will be shown at the luncheon.

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AGCRA Breakfast Highlights AG Professionalism

Fort Jackson NCO Club. Chief Warrant Officer Five, retired, Coral Jones was the keynote speaker at the Carolina Chapter Breakfast held as part of AG Week.  Marittsa Flowers, President of the Carolina Chapter, said that she was privileged to introduce the guest speaker and lauded her many contributions to the Corps as well as highlighting some key tributes from colleagues of Jones, past and present.

CW5(ret) Coral Jones address the AGCRA Carolina Chapter Breakfast as part of AG Week.
CW5(ret) Coral Jones accepts a recognition for serving as guest speaker for the AGCRA Carolina Chapter Breakfast June 21, 2018

CW5(ret) Jones started by conveying her acknowledgment that the most recent issue of 1775 is dedicated to the AG NCO and celebrated the work and professionalism of the NCO Corps. However, she abruptly threw in, to the laughter and delight of the crowd, she was of course going to focus on the great contributions of the Warrant Officer.  Among the many points she delivered she mentioned that the Warrant Officer Corps celebrates its centennial anniversary this year and gave great examples of the expertise and dedication of the Warrant Officers and the overall impact the Corps has had on both the Adjutant General’s Corps and the United States Army.

She highlighted firsts in AG history including the first AG Warrant assigned to the Congressional Liaison Office, the first in a Training with Industry Program, and the first to receive the professional HR certification in a deployed theater, among other notable firsts. She then asked the group to consider “What is our purpose?”  She explained that one should not mistake what you are for versus what you do.  She said, “Many answer the question, “what is your purpose?” with their job duties and what they do.  Those are not the same.” She went on to say that the AG Corps and the AG Warrants in particular are called to be a link and a focal point for their organizations.  That they should strive to be the technical experts.

Ms. Flowers, Carolina Chapter President presents a commemorative plaque to the guest speaker.

She added great humor and some irreverence which was captured on a Live Facebook feed in her short address to a distinguished group that included members of the Carolina Chapter, the National Executive Council, and inductees to the 2018 Hall of Fame and Distinguished Members of the Corps all gathering as part of the AG week festivities.  In addition to her address, several Soldiers, past and present were presented with AG Regimental Awards including the Horatio Gates Gold, Bronze and Honorary Medals, and the Colonel Robert Manning Achievement Medal during the breakfast.

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