Military Wiki

Wade Rowland Sanders
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Rank Captain
Battles/wars Vietnam
Awards Purple Heart, Bronze Star
Other work Government; Politics

Wade Sanders is an attorney from San Diego, California and a retired United States Navy Captain who served as Deputy Assistant United States Secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs during the Clinton Administration. He was formerly California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi's senior adviser for veterans and military affairs. As an attorney, he specialized in the legal practice of corporate governance and ethics, as well as employee owned companies and lobbying for major corporations. In December 2008 he pled guilty to one charge of possession of child pornography. On January 9, 2013, Sanders was disbarred.

Early life

Sanders is the son of a career U.S. Navy officer who was injured while serving as Gunner's Mate aboard the USS Pensacoladisambiguation needed, and Mary Houston, an artist.[citation needed]


Government and politics

Sanders was the senior adviser for veterans and military affairs to John Garamendi, D-Calif., while Garamendi served as California's Lt. Governor in 2008.

A former Deputy Assistant United States Secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs during the Clinton Administration, he contributed to the Post Cold War restructuring and modernization of the Armed Forces of the United States and worked with the United States Secretary of Defense to achieve full integration of the Reserve and Guard Components of the U.S. Military.[citation needed]

Sanders sat on the board of the non-profit organization Vietnam Veterans of San Diego. He was a member of the San Diego Police Department Senior Oversight Committee and briefly ran for the United States Congress as a Democrat in 2000 before dropping out of the race, citing a lack of funding.[1]

During the 2004 presidential campaign, Sanders was a spokesman for presidential campaign of Democrat John Kerry. Sanders introduced Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, made an appearance in the documentary Going Upriver – The Long War of John Kerry (2004), and made public rebuttals to criticisms of Kerry's war record made by the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.


A combat veteran of the Vietnam War, where he served as Swift Boat skipper, PCF-98 and retired reserve Navy Captain, Sanders served nearly thirty years of active and reserve Naval service and received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and in 1992 was awarded the Silver Star.[2] In August 2010, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus stripped Sanders of the Silver Star. According to a Navy spokesperson, "Had the subsequently determined facts and evidence surrounding both the incident for which the award was made and the processing of the award itself been known to the secretary of the Navy in 1992, those facts would have prevented the award of the Silver Star."[3][4]

Education and associations

Sanders received his Bachelor of Arts from California State University, Long Beach, his Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law, and is a graduate of the Naval War College. He also attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Sanders is the author of many published articles and opinion pieces in major newspapers and the Navy Institute Proceeding, and served as a columnist for and a television commentator on national security matters and the war in Iraq for NBC and Fox.


On December 22, 2008, Sanders pleaded guilty to one felony charge of possession of images of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct, before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California in San Diego. Investigators found eight videos in addition to individual photos containing child pornography on Sanders' computers.[1][5] After initially denying that he was in possession of child pornography, Sanders later stated that the material was for an article on child exploitation in foreign countries and was intended for scholarly purposes as he had previously worked in aiding child sex abuse victims in Yugoslavia and stated that his motives were "pure and innocent".[6][7] A therapist treating Sanders testified that he was not a danger to children, and several mental health experts concluded he was not a pedophile. Prior to the sentence hearing, more than 50 people expressed their support of Sanders, including senators Kerry, Cleland and congresswoman Schenk.[2] On May 4, 2009, Sanders was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Whelan to 37 months in prison.[5][7][8]

On January 9, 2013, Sanders was disbarred by the California Bar.[9]


External links

  1. Wade Sanders Archives at [1]
  2. Wade Sanders on KPBS TV San Diego "Full Focus" [2]
  3. United States of America v Wade Sanders
  4. Statement of Wade Sanders

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