Mr. and Mrs. Grover C. Sanders, who live on a farm 13 miles southeast of Protection, are making a substantial contribution to the war effort. Besides raising all the foodstuffs they can, they have three sons in the service--Nelson, an ensign in the Navy, Grover Ed, a First Class Petty Officer in the Navy, and Technician Fifth Grade Ralph C., who entered the service last year.
Few men in Comanche county have ever seen more of the world or been in harder fighting than Ensign Nelson Sanders. His naval career began with his enlistment on October 12, 1935, at the recruiting office in Kansas City. His three months of boot training was spent at the naval training station in San Diego, California. He qualified for the ordinance school, which he attended four months, after which he was ordered to the U.S.S. Pensacola, going aboard at the Mare Island Navy Yard in June 1936.
Their summer cruise started in August and included the following ports: Cordova and Sitka Alaska, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco and Oakland in California, ending with their home port at Long Beach. Maneuvers in 1937 and 1938 were carried out in the Western Pacific, after which the ship sailed to Honolulu, Hawaii, Seattle, Tacoma and Everett, in Washington, and the more southern coastal cities.
In 1939 upon completion of maneuvers Nelson visited Trinidad, Port Au Spain; Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; Gonaives, Haiti; Cartagera, Columbia, and ports in Panama. Since 1939 and before the war, he was in Agaga, Guam; at Wake Island and at Midway Island; also passing the French Frigate Shoal, which is shaped like a sailing vessel and so got its name.
Since December 7, 1941, when the Japs sank scores of U.S. ships at Pearl Harbor, Nelson, as a gunner was in action in the following areas: Australia, New Caledonia, Fiji Islands, New Hebrides, Samoa, the Solomons and the Hawaiian Islands.
Up to and including the battle of Santa Cruz, when he was injured severely in one leg by enemy fire, he had participated in seven major battles and engagements. He was brought back to the States for hospitalization and remained in the hospital at Long Beach until he was ordered to report to Treasure Island as a warrant officer and director of enlisted personnel training. He was commissioned an Ensign in the regular navy about a month ago and has been given the Purple Heart Award. He is now in the state of Washington awaiting orders to go on board a new ship, as he has now recovered from his severe wounds.
Ensign Sanders was united in marriage with Miss Mary Houston of Las Vegas, Nevada, in November 1939. Mrs. Sanders and their son, Wade Rowland, then 11 months old, were in the midst of the Pearl Harbor attack, the mother being on the streets of Honolulu close to the crashing Japanese bombs. Her husband was at sea at the time.
The crippled U.S. Navy with its scant supply of ships, and air protection was practically the only thing that prevented the Japs from invading Australia and cutting off all our air supply lines in the South Seas during the early months of 1942. Ensign Sanders and his navy buddies will be listed among the great heroes of World War II.
Fire Controlman First Class Grover Ed Sanders was born south of Protection and is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Sanders. He attended grade school at Pleasant Valley district and was graduated from the Protection high school in 1938. He then spent one year at home on the farm, attended the Citizens Military Training Camp at Fort Leavenworth in August 1939, then volunteered for service in the navy in January 1940. He received his training at Great Lakes Training Station and was assigned to the battleship, Tennessee. He has been in the Fire Control department ever since.
At the time Pearl Harbor was bombed he was in a Fire Control School at San Diego, California, and has returned to his ship each time after his more advanced schools have finished their courses. He attended schools in San Francisco, New York and Washington, where he is now located. Many people seem to have the idea that Fire Controlmen fight fires that may be started on the ship. Instead, they gauge the distance from the enemy and the direction, and thus control the firing of guns. The utmost in precision calculations are required and the fire controlmen must have many months of both technical training and practice in firing. The accuracy of our Navy's guns is responsible for the winning of many battles against the Japs.
Grover Ed was married in San Francisco, California, in May, 1942, to Miss Geraldine Slothower and she is now with him in Washington D.C.
Technician Fifth Grade Ralph C. Sanders, the third son of Mr. and Mrs. Sanders in the armed forces, was born in Pratt County, but moved with his parents to Comanche county when he was about two years of age. Two years later he moved to the Tharp ranch south of Protection, where he lived until his induction into the army in June 1942. He attended the Grade school at Pleasant Valley and high school in Protection, where he graduated with the Class of 1932. After finishing school, he was partners with his brother, Robert, and Mr. Tharp in the raising of cattle, hogs and sheep.
Ralph took his initial training in Camp Wolters, Texas, and later had further training at Camp McCoy, Michigan, and Fort Custer, Wisconsin. In December 1942, his company was sent to California to await ships to the South Pacific, where he has since been stationed, helping to drive the Japs back, island by island. In a recent letter he said, "We may not be going as strong as we were when we first arrived, but we are still going. We are doing whatever there is to do."
And that is a whole lot more than some groups and individuals in America are doing. While Ralph and his buddies are fighting both jungle fever and treacherous Japs in the steaming tropics, certain unions, with their guns-in-the-ribs and "or else" tactics, are getting paid high wages for taking one to two hours to reach their work stations after arriving at their mines. Patriotism. With a Price Tag!
The Sanders family has lived on the Tharp place nearly 24 years. Other children of the family are: Robert Sanders, who lives in the home community, Roger and Raymond, 17 year old twins and Seniors in the Protection High School, and Mary Emily, 13.
Thanks to Ralph Sanders of Protection, Kansas, for contributing the above news article and photos to this web site and to Bobbi (Hackney) Huck for typing the article & scanning the photos!
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