William L. Musladin, a retired Air Force veteran of three wars who led Planned Parenthood in Sacramento, died March 24 of a stroke, his family said. He was 94.
Mr. Musladin followed an unlikely path from bombing enemy targets to leading a corps of volunteers promoting family planning. He served 26 years in the military, starting as a B-17 navigator-bombardier over Europe during World War II.
He flew night raids during the Korean War and served with the Strategic Air Command in Turkey and Morocco. On his last tour of duty, he was an intelligence officer in Saigon during the Vietnam War. He retired as a lieutenant colonel in 1967 with two Distinguished Flying Crosses, a Bronze Star, seven Air Medals and many other military decorations.
Mr. Musladin settled in Sacramento and joined Planned Parenthood Association in 1969 as executive director for about two years. In a 1970 news story, he said his support for family planning grew out of his military experience.
"I think anyone who has banged around the planet, as you are bound to in a military career, has seen enough of human misery," he told The Bee. "And it doesn't take a very perceptive individual to realize the relationship between uncontrolled human fertility and poverty, underemployment and disease."
Mr. Musladin served as director of the Sacramento campus of Chapman College and taught at Beale Air Force Base. He volunteered for many years with Sacramento County Sheriff's Amateur Radio Program and assisted on stakeouts with other ham radio operators. His efforts helped capture many suspects in burglary, robbery, rape and peeping Tom cases.
"Bill put in a lot of hours," said Carl Stincelli, a retired sheriff's deputy who ran the volunteer program. "We probably had 50 to 60 volunteers and a core group of eight to 10, and he was one of them."
William Lester Musladin was born in 1917 in San Francisco. He worked as a radio announcer before serving with the 13th Bomb Squadron, 305th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force during World War II. He married his wife, Eileen, an Army nurse, in 1943.
He taught ROTC cadets at West Virginia University after serving in Korea and earned a social science degree from Sacramento State in 1956 while stationed at Mather Air Force Base. He also earned master's degrees in business administration from the University of Colorado and anthropology from Sacramento State.
He belonged to veterans groups and stayed in touch with longtime Air Force friends. He was an active supporter of the Sacramento Symphony, Sacramento Ballet and Capital Public Radio.
Mr. Musladin lived in the Campus Commons neighborhood for many years with his wife, who volunteered as a Planned Parenthood nurse-educator. She died in 2008.
While serving in Vietnam, he met a 15-year-old girl, Thuan Bui, whom he later invited to live with him and his wife in Sacramento.
After helping her earn bachelor's and master's degrees from Sacramento State, the couple adopted her at age 36.
"He always told me that the best two things he did in his life was marry my mother and adopt me," Bui said.
"War didn't callous his heart. It made his heart softer. He was an amazing man."