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Black History Month Spotlight: Senior Master Sgt. Leon A. Saddler

Senior Master Sgt. Leon A Saddler (U. S. Air Force PhotoRELEASED)

Senior Master Sgt. Leon A Saddler (U. S. Air Force PhotoRELEASED)

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, Syracuse, NY -- Senior Master Sgt. Leon A. Saddler is the Human Resource Advisor for the 174th Fighter Wing, Syracuse, NY a position he has held since 2009. Senior Master Sgt. Saddler is responsible for advising the command leadership on issues leading to the enhancement of the organization's culture; promoting opportunities for all Air National Guard members to maximize their individual potential for success without regard to their cultural differences. As the HRA he's also the senior leadership advisor tasked with overseeing diversity, force management, and force development.

"As an African-American I'm very proud of being able to show the younger generation of African- Americans through my accomplishments that the military can be a very successful career if chosen", said Saddler.

Senior Master Sgt. Saddler graduated from Christian Brothers Academy in 1981 and graduated from Onondaga Community College in 1996 with an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice. He will be graduating this spring from Columbia College with a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resource Management. Senior Master Sgt. Saddler grew up in Syracuse on the Southside of the city in Pioneer Homes Housing Projects and now resides in Dewitt.

"As an African-American one of the most positive changes I've seen are more African-Americans in positions because of their abilities. However; there are still lots of other areas for African-Americans to progress in. For an example an African-American achieving the highest enlisted rank of Chief Master Sgt. here at the 174th FW", said Saddler.

Senior Master Sgt. Saddler is a Police Officer for the City of Syracuse and has been a police officer for 19 yrs. He is a School Resource Officer at Danforth Middle School. As an SRO he handles any type of criminal activities that occur in the school but in addition, he mentors and mediates the youth in the school. Prior to becoming a Police Officer Senior Master Sgt. Saddler was a Correctional Officer with the Onondaga County Sheriffs Dept.

Senior Master Sgt. Saddler was recruited by Chief Master Sgt. (Ret.) Alonzo Senior who was a recruiter at the 174th FW and helped to educate him on the Air National Guard, prior to this meeting Senior Master Sgt. Saddler had never even heard of the Air National Guard.

"Initially, my biggest obstacle was dealing with individuals who didn't give African-Americans an equal opportunity to compete for jobs in the Guard", said Saddler.

In the near future Senior Master Sgt. Saddler plans on retiring from the Air National Guard and the police dept and begin a new career in Human Resource in a warmer climate. Some of his interests are exercising, community service, reading, mentoring and traveling.

Senior Master Sgt. Saddler became the First Sergeant for the 174th FW Headquarters in 1998. During his tenure as First Sergeant he deployed to Ground Zero in 2001 in response to the September 11th attacks and deployed to Iraq in 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.