Private Michael J. Sanders
Mike Sanders graduated from high school in 1972. He worked in a factory for a couple of years and then went to work for the railroad. As he matured in life he realized something was missing and that he was meant to do more. Finally, at the age of 25 he made the decision to enlist in the U.S. Army, but not just the Army, as an Airborne Ranger, 11B, Infantry. He successfully completed basic training, jump school and Ranger Indoctrination Program (RIP) at Ft. Benning, GA in the summer of 1979. He was then assigned to 1st Battalion, 75th Infantry (Ranger) at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia. Mike excelled at all assigned duties and was eventually assigned the prestigious and demanding duty of platoon sniper. In January of 1980, while the Battalion was engaged in a mass parachute jump upon returning from cold-weather training in the snow covered mountains of Wisonsin, Mike became entangled with another Ranger from California, and sadly both fell to their deaths. In 2006 Mike was honored as a Fallen Ranger by having a street sign with his name placed at the bridge that crossed the Etowah River on Memorial Road at Camp Frank D. Merrill Mountain Ranger Camp in Delohnaga, GA. Former Ranger Tom Wilburn, previous winner of the Best Ranger Competition, and inducted into the Ranger Hall of Fame, recommended Mike for the Memorial Road honor as he had served with Mike in the 1/75th Infantry (Ranger).