Joseph Michael Sarto
Colonel, United States Air Force
Colonel Joseph M. Sarto, United States Air Force, 88, Prattville, Alabama.
World War II Veteran.
Colonel Sarto was a decorated war hero who served his country for 29 years as a career officer in the United States Air Force, rising to the rank of Colonel. While in the military he flew 30 sorties in World War II as a Pathfinder for the 384th Bombardment Group of the Eight Air Force. He was one of the first users of radar in military combat, which dramatically changed the fate of the war. As the lead Pathfinder, Colonel Sarto would guide the formation of bombers deep behind front lines and successfully bomb strategic targets, even when cloud-covered. He survived being shot down. For his valor, Colonel Sarto was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, and the European African Middle Eastern Theater Ribbon with 5 Bronze Battle Stars, among other citations.
Colonel Sarto also served with the historic aircrew that linked North America to Europe for the first time using three-point aerial navigation, which enabled maps to accurately portray the global position of these two continents.
Colonel Sarto greeted everyone with sparkling eyes, a keen wit, kind words, and a big heart. He contributed to his community, especially to those in most need, with a special affinity for children. He and his wife, Dorothy, served as foster parents for newborns until the children’s adoptions were finalized. They also prepared hundreds of teddy bears for emergency responders to give to children in crisis. Children held a special place for him, with many of them claiming "honorary" grandchild status.
The Family of this hero has asked for the Patriot
Guard Riders to escort and honor their Hero. The Patriot Guard will escort
Colonel Sarto and his family from the Funeral Home to the Church, and then
provide a Flag Line for Family and friends. Colonel Sarto will also be
laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, and also will be requesting
the Patriot Guard to Honor him there as well. The interment will be held
in November at Arlington National Cemetery.
Posted: 7 November 2007