Aug. 10, 2010 Portsmouth Portsmouth City Virginia, USA
James Richard Sanderson, VADM, USN (Retired), 84, passed away on August 10, 2010 in Portsmouth Naval Hospital. Vice Admiral Sanderson was born in Selma, CA and was the son of the late Charles M. and Edith Sanderson. He was an Eagle Scout. In 1947, he married his high school sweetheart, Betty B. Sanderson at the USN Chapel on Mare Island in Vallejo, CA. He was preceded in death by his brothers, Milton and Jerry Sanderson.
Vice Admiral Sanderson served 39 years active duty in the US Navy. He had Destroyer duty with the USS MANSFIELD, and USS BAUSWELL as an Ensign Gunnery Officer. He was an accomplished aviator, he received his wings in May of 1950. He flew over 100 combat missions on the USS PRINCETON over N. Korea from the Sea of Japan and the Gulf of Wonsan. His first Korean War combat sortie was Close Air Support of First Marine Division at Chosen Reservoir, North Korea. He was one of eight Torpedo Pilots that destroyed the flood gates of Hwachon Reservoir Dam, North Korea (Air Wing 19). Squadron VA-195 became known as the "Dam Busters". In 1953 he attended General Line School, and later went on to be a Gunnery Flight Instructor at Barin Air Field, AL. Squadron VA -16, CARDIV FOUR, VA-43 RAG Instructor and Operations Officer, and XO, then CO of VA-76 in the USS ENTERPRISE, and CO of Carrier Air Wing THREE. In addition to his college education he attended the National War College in Washington, DC, while there he got his B.A. from George Washington University in International Relations. He had two tours of duty with OPNAV at the Pentagon. He later became the Commanding officer of the, USS RAINIER, and USS SARATOGA. He became commander of COMCARDIV TWO battle force Sixth Fleet. In 1980, he was commissioned as Vice Admiral and was assigned as Deputy Commander-in-chief Atlantic command, Deputy Commander in Chief and Chief of Staff, US Atlantic Fleet, from where he retired from active duty in 1983.
Some of the Medals he received were Legion of Merit ( 3 Gold Stars), Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medals (5) and many other campaign service medals.
His was a member of the Golden Eagles, a 33 Degree Scottish Rite Mason, and a Distinguished Scout,. He belonged to many other civic clubs and affiliations including the Hampton Roads Naval Historical Society, and Tidewater Council of the Boy Scouts..
Survivors include his wife, Betty B. Sanderson, several nieces and nephews, as well as several great nieces, nephews, extended family members and good friends in California.