Rear Adm. Sanders graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with the class of 1980 and was designated a naval aviator in July 1982.
Sanders served on active duty as an E-2C pilot aboard the USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) at sea. He was the E-2C model manager and Naval Air Forces Atlantic E-2C evaluator ashore before transitioning to reserve status.
Sanders has held command at Carrier Airborne Early Warning (VAW) 78; Tactical Air Control Squadron 2186; Carrier Group 0486, and U.S. 2nd Fleet-Joint Force Air Component Commander 0186.
Sanders was selected as the Navy Reserve Junior Officer of the Year in 1990. Additionally, he served on NATO’s Standardization and Training of Reserves Forces commission from 1993 to 1998 including election as the committee chairman.
After selection to flag rank in 2007, Sanders was assigned as vice commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command. In August 2009, he assumed command of Combined Tasked Force (CTF) 151, where over his tenure he commanded 4,400 sailors in 19 ships from seven nations, in a coalition counter-piracy force operating off the coast of Somalia. He then served as deputy commander, U.S. 2nd Fleet.
He is currently assigned as the reserve deputy director for Joint and Coalition Warfighting, J7, Joint Staff.
His personal decorations include the Legion of Merit (3), Meritorious Service Medal (3), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.