Sawyer, Robert W. (P2, C4, L7)
Captain Robert Wychwood “Buz” Sawyer, 30, of Nashville, Tennessee, was killed after ejecting from his disabled RF-101C “Voodoo” (#56-010) near Kansas City, Missouri on 5 August 1968. According to newspaper accounts his parachute did not deploy sufficiently to arrest his fall due to his altitude when he ejected. Sawyer likely stayed at the controls of his disabled aircraft to steer it away from populated areas before ejecting. Early accounts suggested a midair collision with a private aircraft but those reports were not substantiated at the time. Sawyer was on a local reconnaissance training flight when the incident occurred. He was a member of the 165th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron of the Kentucky Air National Guard on federal duty at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base during the Pueblo Crisis.
Sawyer was born in Fenelon Falls, Ontario, Canada. He received his commission as an officer through the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) at the University of Buffalo where he earned his Bachelor degree in economics in 1959. Sawyer went on active duty with the Air Force in July 1957 and after pilot training served with the 328th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base and the 317th Fighter interceptor squadron at Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska until August 1966 when he left active duty.
Sawyer joined the Kentucky Air National Guard in July 1967 and was a pilot with American Airlines at the time he was called to federal active duty during the Pueblo Crisis. He is buried at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York in Section 19.
Buffalo Man begins Jet Pilot Training, Space Force Later
Buffalo Evening News June 3 1960
Second Lt. Robert W. Sawyer, 488 Berkshire Ave., has entered five months jet pilot training after graduation from primary pilot training school at Moore Air Force Base, Tex.
Lt. Sawyer, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Sawyer, will have spent more than a year in flight training upon completion of jet training at Web Air Force Base, Tex.
A 1959 graduate of the University of Buffalo, Lt. Sawyer will be assigned to the Air Force’s Aerospace Force of Manned aircraft, missiles and spacecraft.
Parachute Fails, Jet Pilot Killed
Omaha World Herald, 6 August 1968, p. 6.
Kansas City, Kans. (AP)—An Air Force pilot on a local training flight ejected from his falling military jet plane and was killed when his parachute failed to open Monday.
The pilotless RF-101 Voodoo jet crashed and burst into flame near Oak Grove, Mo., 13 miles east of Kansas City.
Air Force authorities identified the pilot as Capt. Robert W. (Buzz) Sawyer, 30, a native of Buffalo, N. Y. He was a senior pilot of the 123rd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing.
His body, still strapped in the ejection seat, was found about two hundred yards from the wreckage.