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Maj. Walter Sanderson, Jr.

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Information about Maj. Walter Sanderson, Jr.

Profile image of Maj. Walter Sanderson, Jr.

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Major

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Machts Nicht.

Birthplace

Born:
3/20/1921
Birth Location:
Washington, District of Columbia

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
Occupation(s):
Major

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Machts Nicht.

Birthplace

Born:
3/20/1921
Birth Location:
Washington
See how Maj. Walter Sanderson, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

U.S. Army Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. was born in Washington, D.C. on March 20, 1921 to Yale Manning Sanderson, a teacher, and Walter B. Sanderson, Sr., a chauffeur. His siblings include younger brother, John and younger sister, Vera. After graduating from Washington, D.C.’s Dunbar High School as an honors student and salutatorian in 1937, Sanderson enrolled at Howard University, where he was a member of the Army ROTC. He earned his B.S. degree at Howard in 1941 and was awarded medals from Howard University President, Mordecai Johnson at the ROTC Military Day drill competition. After graduating from Howard, Sanderson was hired by the United States Postal Service in mail distribution in 1941.

Sanderson joined the United States Army in 1942 and saw action in World War II as an infantry reservist with the 25th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Infantry Division, a segregated unit of the United States Army composed entirely of African American soldiers led by African American junior and white senior officers. In 1943, Sanderson’s unit began fighting in the Pacific Theater Campaign on Bougainville Island in the Solomon Islands Chain, near Guadalcanal Island, against Japanese forces. His unit performed combat patrols on other islands until combat on Morotai Island in 1945. In 1945, while serving on Morotai Island in Indonesia, Sanderson’s company was cited for bravery. Division patrols earned the distinction of capturing Col. Kisou Ouichi, the highest ranking Japanese prisoner of war in the Pacific. In 1944, Sanderson was promoted from 2nd to 1st Lieutenant in his unit, the 25th Infantry Regiment, 93rd Infantry Division. In 1952, Sanderson served with the 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division in the Korean War (1950 – 1953), suffering a shell fragment wound in combat.

Included in Sanderson’s many accolades are a Purple Heart for wounds received in combat in the Korean War and two Bronze Star Medals for meritorious service. Sanderson was also the recipient of a United Nations Service Medal and Master Combat Infantry Badge. In 1965, after his 23 years in the military, Sanderson was hired as a systems analyst doing defense analysis for the U.S. Government, which earned him a nomination for National Civil Service League’s Career Service Award in 1971. Sanderson was a longtime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization and the Second Infantry Division Association. Sanderson was married to late wife Juanita H. Sanderson. He has two adult children, Leslie Swift and Walter B. Sanderson III.

Walter B. Sanderson, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 9, 2012.

Sanderson passed away on February 5, 2017.

See how Maj. Walter Sanderson, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Walter Sanderson Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his mother's family background and the story behind her name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his maternal grandfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his mother and her college education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his parents' move to Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his earliest childhood memory and his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Walter Sanderson Jr. recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. recalls the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood pt.2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses his father's upbringing in Gees Bend, Alabama and his employment as a police officer in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his childhood and elementary school education in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his school and the person who his junior high school was named after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his favorite subject in junior high school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his maternal grandfather's history and describes his high school experience
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his participation in the high school cadet corps
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his extracurricular activities in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about famous African Americans from his childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his career goals following graduation from high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about the events in Europe during World War II, pt 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about the events in Europe during World War II, pt 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes the racism he encountered when applying for a job with the Weather Bureau
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. recounts the military's attitude towards African American soldiers
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about serving as 2nd Lieutenant of the 93rd Infantry Division's 25th Regiment
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses the history of the 25th Regiment and segregation in the military
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his tour of duty in the Pacific and his first combat experience
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes a gruesome incident he witnessed during his tour of duty in the Pacific
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses the Battle of Morotai, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses the Battle of Morotai pt.2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his promotion to the rank of Captain as well as the capture of Japanese officers by the 93rd Division
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. provides a basis for his opinion
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his return to the United States and daughter, Leslie Gale Sanderson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about his re-enlisting in the military and his employment with the U.S. Postal Service
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. describes being re-called into active duty in 1951
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about his role as an instructor in the military
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about his participation in the Korean War
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. comments on the torture of Chinese prisoners by the United States military
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. recalls his interactions with white subordinates
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Major Walter Sanderson, Jr. talks about the white officer that saved his life on the battlefield
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Walter Sanderson Jr. comments on the inhumanity of war
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Walter Sanderson Jr. comments on race relations between black and white soldiers during the Korean War
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his career with the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses changes in the character of frontline warfare
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Walter Sanderson Jr. discusses his retirement in 1977 and reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Walter Sanderson Jr. explains his philosophy on life
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Walter Sanderson Jr. explains the significance of President Barack Obama's election
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Walter Sanderson Jr. talks about his parents and how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Walter Sanderson Jr. describes his photographs