Sharon Sanders, Published Author
P.O. Box 402, Harwich, MA 02645
"Final Mission" is the true story about Rob and Sharon Sander’s five
year journey to uncover the mystery of the final resting place of Rob’s uncle who was killed
on his 50th and last mission over Vienna, Austria during WWII.
Beginning with nothing but a faded picture of Uncle Bobby in his
flight suit, which bares an uncanny resemblance to Rob, the search led them across seven
states and two continents. Over the course of several years, personal interviews with surviving
crew members and letters written home from Uncle Bob, assisted them in piecing together
the chronology of events that would eventually lead to their goal.
Emphasizing the importance of love, remembrance and the healing
needed for families and souls subject to the devastation of war, the reader will share as they
find themselves compelled to honor not just one fallen hero, but over four hundred thousand
The Cape Cod Times, a local daily newspaper, chronicled their trip
to Nuepre, Belgium in May, 2001, as the first family members to ever hold a full military
and religious service for one soldier at the Ardennes. Later, the article received two first
place awards for best human interest story of the year by the New England Press Associates
and the New England Associated Press Newspapers Editors Association.
It is Rob and Sharon’s greatest hope that "Final Mission"
will reach out to as many as possible, bringing forth Uncle Bob’s message to remember
the price paid and the sacrifice given, that future generations would live in peace.
About the Author
Born in Groton, Massachusetts, Sharon Moved to Cape Cod
in 1987 after the birth of her first child. As the proud mother of two sons and a daughter
she wrote her first children’s story, ‘The Lonely Little Christmas Tree’ in 1992. Confronted
by divorce a few years later, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a registered nurse when
she graduated from Cape Cod Community College in 1995. After marrying her second
husband, Rob, a firefighter and paramedic, she spent the next few years working toward
her goal of becoming a critical care nurse. In 1999, the same year she accepted a position
in the emergency room of a local hospital, she ventured with her husband on a life altering
quest to uncover the mystery of his uncle’s final resting place. After five years of research
and an emotional journey to Belgium, she found herself torn between the career she had
worked so hard for and what seemed to be a compulsive desire to tell their story. Eventually,
fate stepped in by closing certain doors and opening others allowing her the time to complete
their novel. Even though she struggled with the idea of taking on such a tiresome and at
times agonizing task she managed to complete what her husband has lovingly referred to
as their 'Final Mission'.
On August 22, 1944, Robert Wallace Sanders, a 22-year-old
staff sergeant and gunner for the 15th Air Force joined his air crew aboard their B-24 liberator
on what he had hoped would be his last mission. As the plane lifted into the morning sky,
Bob looked back toward the tarmac one last time as it faded off into the distance. He knew
that if he were fortunate enough to touch down once again on the heavily padded runway,
he would have fulfilled his duty to his country.
Bob had seen extensive air combat, since he arrived to his
airbase in Pantanella, Italy, where he was stationed during WWII. Over four months, he completed
and miraculously survived forty-nine grueling missions, flying sometimes back to back, six
to eight hours in a day, while penetrating deep into enemy territory.
The air crew’s goal was to reach their designated target and
release 10,000 pounds of explosives onto various oil refineries and factories, destroying the
enemies’ ability to make war. Though many of their targets like Ploesti, Vienna, and Kiel,
had some of the highest loss rates of bomber crews, Bob, like many others, willingly gave
of themselves knowing they would likely have to give the ultimate sacrifice if they were to
help free Europe from Nazi oppression.
Five hours into their flight, the brave crew approached their
target over Korenueberg, Austria. The sky was peppered with bursts of thick black smoke
as the enemy launched anti aircraft fire, reaching heights of 25,000 feet. The liberator
rocked against the thunderous explosions as the pilot and copilot strained to turn the nose
into the target.
The plane shuddered when it took a direct hit to the left engine.
Still, the terrified crew managed to maintain control of their aircraft just long enough to
release their bombs. Within seconds, the plane flipped over, forcing it to plummet toward
the earth, leaving a fiery array of flames trailing behind her. With no time to spare, the
crew made a desperate attempt to bail out before it was too late.
Sharon Sander's book, "Final Mission", became
available August 25, 2005. You can order "Final Mission" (ISBN 1420874934)
by going to www.authorhouse.com,
left click on Book Store, select the search option Author, then type in
Sharon Sanders, then select the appropriate market. You will be taken to a
Buy webpage where you can purchase the book.