Demopolis’ Sawyer tapped for Aviation Hall of Fame

Published 10:18 am Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Buzz Sawyer’s decorated military career is well-documented.

As a fighter pilot in Vietnam, Sawyer earned many medals and accolades for bravery and accomplishments.

Sawyer grew up in Mobile and started his Air Force career in 1948. He served in the United States, Europe and Vietnam on assignments after flight training.

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He was awarded the Soldier’s Medal after helping rescue an injured crewman whose F100F aircraft crashed and burst into flames on Sept. 24, 1959, at Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, S.C.

As a wing commander and fighter pilot in Vietnam, he earned the Silver Star, five Distinguished Flying Crosses and 23 Air Medals. He provided close air support for U.S. Army Ground Forces.

Come 2011, Sawyer, who has served as manager of the Demopolis Regional Airport for the past 22 years, will be recognized for accomplishments in the private sector.

As manager of the Demopolis Municipal Airport, Sawyer has played a key role in developing what once was a grass field facility into one of approximately 25 regional airports in the state.

For his work in facilitating these and other improvements, Sawyer will be inducted into the upcoming class of the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame.

“I didn’t do anything alone,” Sawyer said. “I had the support of every mayor and every council the whole time I’ve been here. We’ve gotten financial help from state aeronautics and federal funding…All of this contributed to the airport becoming what it is.”

What the airport is now is fully equipped for general aviation, capable of servicing corporate jets and helicopters and is open seven days per week with on-call access around the clock and during inclement weather.

Other improvements include upgrades in lighting, automatic weather reporting and the addition of hangars.