Thursday, May 26, 2011

Burdett R. Sanders

When I knew him, LTC Burdett R. Sanders stood all of 5'7". He was instrumental in developing an a morale intensive environment for the 2nd Squadron, 17th Air Cavalry.

The first part of this environment included creating a program that brought the soldiers into the world of the mission tasking.

This was literally unheard of.  Even in Vietnam, very few soldiers actually knew what was going on with respect to daily mission activities. Yes, the infantry was briefed on each task they were to perform but to have a similar daily briefing on mission activites which included all of the soldiers involved simply didn't happen.

I did for each soldeir involved with the 2/17 Cavalry between 1973 and 1975 when "The Chicken Man" was the commander.

The second part of this morale intensive environment involved public affairs and more specifically me.

My job was to develop a program that would focus on the individual and how that job title played an important role in the success of that area of expertise and how it affected the overall performance of the Squadron.

Today, we call that process management. My job was to highlight all the sections that built up to Squadron level.

We accomplished this by providing Division Public Affairs with "Day in the life of"  photo features, our "Out Front" newsletter, a very dynamically driven awards and decorations program and timely images -- pictures without articles -- to the editor of the Fort Campbell Courier.

When the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault celebrated its 101st birthday, it was my images that took up two pages in three different newspapers:  The Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, The Courier Post and The Hopkinsville New Era.

Many of these images were of the Air Assault demonstration.

When we went to Fort McCoy, I was there to take pictures and to document -- I was with the Blue Platoon when it launched an attack on the National Guard. I brought a screen and a move projector and showed movies.

When we went to Fort Bliss, Tx, I went in a C-130 and took pictures of the C-5A as it opened the cargo door and we unloaded it.

When we went to Fort Polk, La, I went with LTC Sanders and, again,  I brought a screen and a move projector and showed movies.

We weren't just about Cobras and recon. We also had an ground Troop. D Troop used 106 recoilless rifles. Photographing them in action was awesome.

I remember, once, taking a picture of a jeep dropped at 500 feet from under a chopper.  Wasn't pretty.

We didn't just photograph exercises.

When the women of he officers wives club went to a retirement home up in hopkinsville, I took pictures and wrote a story about it.  I remember an older gentleman kept on insisting we see a young man at the retirement home. When I asked him what the age was of this young man, he said 53.
As I write this, I'm almost eight years older than that "young man"

We also once landed at a school up in Hopkinsville.  I'm not sure why we did but one school teacher thought it might be nice if we could return with some of the other helicopters we used. So, we did after a few weeks and I took pictures and wrote the article.

There were times when we just had fun laughing at ourselves.  Maj McDermitt comes to mind.  I accidently took a picture of him holding the purses of then BG Jack V. Mackmull wife's gloves and purse. LTC Sander's wife thought that to be totally halarious considering McDermitt was well known for not liking to do such things.

So, I printed it up and it was given to McDermott during the hail and farewell cermony for LTC Sanders.

As if that wasn't enough salt in the wound, BG John N. Brandenburg asked McDermitt to have me report to him so he and I could have a pcture taken together.  Want to guess who had to take the picture. McDermitt.

It was sad to see such a good leader leave after a year and a half but that's the way of the Army.

LTC Gary E. Luck assumed command and thats another story in itself.

So, when it is all said and done, we lived up to our motto as being "Out Front".



  1. I was in Vietnam, 3/17 Air Cav with LTC Bud Sanders. Been trying to find him for years.

    Maj Dave McBroom
    dmcbroom @ bellsouth .net

    I am his grandson, send him an email.