08 Aug 2001
My Father, Richard Lee Sanders (AKA Doc, Sandy, Dick) was a medic with HHC and A Co 2/39th Infantry, 9th Infantry Division. He was born on June 23,1945 in Santa Maria, California. He graduated from Santa Maria High School in 1964 and went to Vietnam at on August 17, 1967. He was stationed at Bearcat and was killed in action at the age of 22, on November 24, 1967, the day after Thanksgiving. I was three years old.
According to the Award of the Silver Star and a letter from 1SG Henry Woloszyn, my Dad was killed in the northern portion of Bien Hoa on the 2nd day of a 3-day search and destroy mission. The company was approaching a small ridge directly to its front when the unit came under an intense volume of automatic and semiautomatic weapons fire from a well-concealed and determined company of VC. Seeing several of his comrades fall in the initial burst of enemy fire, my Dad rushed to their aid and succeeded in rendering aid and carrying the wounded to a position of relative safety.
Without regard for his personal safety, he returned to the scene, rushed to wounded SP4 Matthew Sharpnack who had been rendered unconscious by the initial burst of fire, and began administering aid . . . it was at that point that they both were mortally wounded by a burst of automatic weapons fire.
My Dad received the Silver and Bronze Star medals for his actions.
CPL. Sanders' daughter Cindy at the Wall
Father's Day 1993 - Panel 30E - Row 081
Please visit my original Memorial
9TH INFANTRY DIVISION
APO San Francisco 96371
30 December 1967
AWARD OF THE SILVER STAR
1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.
SANDERS, RICHARD L. US56704066 CORPORAL (THEN PRIVATE FIRST CLASS)
HQ and HQ Company, 2d Battalion, 39th Infantry
24 November 1967
Republic of Vietnam
For gallantry in action while engaged in close combat with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam:
PRIVATE FIRST CLASS SANDERS distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 24 November 1967, while serving as a medic on a search and destroy mission in the northern portion of Bien Hoa Province, Vietnam. As the unit moved through an area of dense jungle vegetation, it suddenly came under an intense volume of automatic and semiautomatic weapons fire from a well concealed and determined company of Viet Cong. Seeing several of his comrades fall in the initial burst of enemy fire, Private Sanders immediately rushed to their aid. Although exposing himself to a torrent of insurgent fire, Private Sanders brilliantly succeeded in rendering professional first aid to the wounded men and carrying them to a position of relative safety. Without regard for personal safety and fully aware of the peril of the situation, Private Sanders rushed to a soldier who had been wounded during the conflict. After reaching the man, Private Sanders began administering aid when suddenly the wounded soldier became hysterical and started to run towards his unit's position. Fearing for the safety of the man, Private Sanders dove at the soldier in an attempt to keep him in a position that afforded some cover from the intense fire. It was during the courageous act that Private Sanders and the wounded soldier were mortally wounded by a burst of automatic weapons fire. Private First Class Sanders' extraordinary heroism is in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflects great credit upon himself, the 9th Infantry Division, and the United States Army.
By direction of the President under the provisions of the Act of Congress, approved 9 July 1918, and USARV message 16695, 1 July 1966.
FOR THE COMMANDER:
Chief of Staff
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