The Silver Star
James L. Sanders was born on 21 November 1947, in Benton, Arkansas. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 1969 with a B.S. degree in accounting and commissioned as a second lieutenant. He was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, 1969 to 1970 with the 2/50 Infantry, 2nd Armored Division as a recon platoon leader, preparing to deploy to Vietnam. From 1970 to 1971, he served as an infantry platoon leader, company executive officer, and battalion staff, S-5 for the 2/502 Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), Republic of South Vietnam. By 1971 to 1973, Lieutenant Sanders was in the U.S. Army Reserve, 336th Ordinance Battalion, 122nd ARCOM, battalion, S-1. Between 1973 and 1986, Sanders was promoted to major, serving the U.S. Reserve 95th Training Command in various training officer assignments and as a weapons pool coordinator. His military awards include: Silver Star, Bronze Star, Air Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, and Combat Infantryman's Badge. Major Sanders retired in 1986 and is a certified public accountant. He has been a member of the ASU Foundation Board since April 2006, and is being honored for his receipt of the Silver Star.
On 19 August 1970, in the Republic of Vietnam, Lieutenant Sanders distinguished himself while serving as a platoon leader in Company B, 2nd Battalion (Airmobile), 502nd Infantry, during combat operations in Quang Tri Province. While assaulting an enemy bunker complex, Lieutenant Sanders crawled to the lead element and directed artillery and air support on the enemy emplacements. Subjecting himself to intense hostile fire, he maneuvered among his men, directing their suppressive fire. His actions were instrumental in directing accurate artillery and air support which aided in silencing the enemy positions. Lieutenant Sanders' personal bravery and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.