TOPEKA (KSNT) – With 20 years of active duty, John Sauer saw it all. From being a member of the legal core team, to special forces, to performing over 100 parachute jumps, John’s career was anything but dull.

Starting out in a small Judge Advocate General’s Corps. office, John offered legal assistance – advising soldiers and commanders.

“I prosecuted criminal cases before court marshals, I also served as defense attorney for some courts marshals,” Sauer said. “As I was in there a while I became chief of military justice and supervised other attorneys in the prosecution and defense.” 

As a part of JAG, he worked closely with multiple parties within the military, advising the command on training issues, and providing legal assistance to soldiers over legal problems. He wasn’t only behind the scenes working on cases however, he also led troops as a Commander.

“I went from the JAG Corp. into the infantry branch,” Sauer said. “One of my jobs was a mechanized infantry rifle company commander, which was probably the high achievement of my position. On the battlefield even though it’s just training, you’re still talking on two radios at once, maneuvering your platoon, talking to field artillery, talking to battalion command. You’re really involved.” 

Not stopping there, John would go on to Basic Airborne school. He would perform tactical jumps, combat equipment jumps, night jumps and more – ending his career with 113 parachute jumps.

“None of it bothered me, until I got about 200 feet from the ground,” Sauer said. “Because when you parachute and leave the aircraft, there’s no sensation of falling. At about 200 feet, you’re close enough that you perceive the ground, and as you’re going down it looks like it’s rushing up at you. That’s when I would get a little nervous.” 

When he reflects on his time in the military, John remembers the selfless acts of service the most.

“When one is on active duty, you really have an underlying drive to make things better for your soldiers and your country,” Sauer said. “You do not think of oneself so much.”

From commanding Special Forces, to parachute jumps, to successfully prosecuting a first degree murder trial, there’s not much John hasn’t had a hand in. Nowadays, he’s enjoying retirement in Emporia, recruiting for the local American Legion and spending time with his grandkids.