UNITED STATES NEWS

Army Reserve soldiers, close friends killed in drone attack, mourned at funerals in Georgia

Feb 17, 2024, 2:02 PM

FILE - This combination of photos provided by Shawn Sanders, left, and the U.S. Army, center and ri...

FILE - This combination of photos provided by Shawn Sanders, left, and the U.S. Army, center and right, show from left to right, Sgt. Kennedy Sanders, Staff Sgt. William Jerome Rivers and Sgt. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett. The three U.S. Army Reserve soldiers from Georgia, all of whom received posthumous promotions in rank, were killed by a drone strike on Jan. 28, 2024, on their base in Jordan near the Syrian border. The first funeral service was scheduled Tuesday morning, Feb. 13, for Rivers at a Baptist church in Carrollton, west of Atlanta. (Shawn Sanders and U.S. Army via AP, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Shawn Sanders and U.S. Army via AP, File)

WAYCROSS, Ga. (AP) — Two young citizen-soldiers who became close friends after enlisting in the Army Reserve were remembered at funerals in southeast Georgia on Saturday, nearly three weeks after they died in a drone attack while deployed to the Middle East.

A service for 24-year-old Sgt. Kennedy Sanders was held in the packed 1,200-seat auditorium of Ware County Middle School in Waycross.

Fellow soldiers recalled Sanders’ courage, her loving personality, and her willingness to volunteer for tasks few wanted to do, including learning to operate earth-moving equipment to help build roads and shelters, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“Behind her smile was a fierce determination,” Col. Jeffrey Dulgarian said during the service, adding that she “tackled her responsibility with vigor and skill.”

Sanders’ former basketball coach, Mandy Lingenfelter, remembered Sanders as a point guard for Ware County High’s Lady Gators.

“It was hard for me to yell at her,” Lingenfelter said, “because she was always smiling. … She had pure joy. She put Jesus first, others second and herself last.”

A similar welcome marked the final homecoming for Sgt. Breonna Moffett, 23, in Savannah. Moffett’s funeral at a Baptist church was scheduled for the same time Saturday as Sanders’ service 100 miles (161 kilometers) away. Moffett’s family requested that media not be present.

The soldiers were among three members of their Army Reserve unit who died Jan. 28 in a drone strike on a U.S. base in Jordan near the Syrian border. Also killed was Staff Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, who was buried Tuesday following a church service in Carrollton.

The military awarded all three soldiers promotions in rank after their deaths. They were assigned to the 926th Engineer Battalion, 926th Engineer Brigade, based at Fort Moore in west Georgia.

According to the Army Reserve, Moffett and Sanders both enlisted in 2019 as construction engineers who use bulldozers and other heavy equipment to clear roads and construction sites.

By the time they deployed to the Middle East last year, the two had become close friends. Moffett’s mother, Francine Moffett, said that whenever the family would call her daughter, they typically would hear from Sanders too.

When she wasn’t serving in uniform, Moffett worked in Savannah for United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia, helping teach cooking and other skills to people with disabilities. She joined the Army Reserve after graduating from Windsor Forest High School, where she had been a drum major and JROTC cadet. She was killed just days after her 23rd birthday.

Sanders came from Waycross on the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp and worked at a local pharmacy. The former high school athlete helped coach children’s basketball and soccer teams in her spare time. Her mother, Oneida Oliver-Sanders, said the last time they spoke, her daughter talked of wanting to buy a motorcycle when she came home.

The deaths of the three Georgia reservists were the first U.S. fatalities blamed on Iran-backed militia groups after months of intensified attacks on American forces in the region since the Israel-Hamas war began in October.

More than 40 troops were also injured in the drone attack at Tower 22, a secretive U.S. military desert outpost that enables U.S. forces to infiltrate and quietly leave Syria.

United States News

Associated Press

Kevin Bacon dances back to “Footloose” high school

PAYSON, Utah (AP) — Actor Kevin Bacon on Saturday returned to the Utah high school where the cult classic movie “Footloose” was filmed more than 40 years. Bacon danced his way to a stage on a Payson High School athletic field Saturday to greet students before what likely was the final prom held at the […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Arkansas teen held on murder charge after fatal shooting outside party after high school prom

HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas teen is in custody on a first-degree murder charge in connection with the fatal shooting of a high school senior outside a party early Sunday following a high school prom. Donterious Stephens, 19, of Helena, turned himself in to authorities Sunday afternoon in the shooting death of Lorenzo […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Terry Anderson, AP reporter held captive for years, has died

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Terry Anderson, the globe-trotting Associated Press correspondent who became one of America’s longest-held hostages after he was snatched from a street in war-torn Lebanon in 1985 and held for nearly seven years, has died at 76. Anderson, who chronicled his abduction and torturous imprisonment by Islamic militants in his best-selling 1993 […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Suspect in killing of Idaho sheriff’s deputy fatally shot by police, authorities say

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho sheriff’s deputy died after being shot by a driver during a traffic stop, and a man believed to be the shooting suspect was later fatally shot by police, authorities said Sunday. Deputy Tobin Bolter was shot as he approached the driver’s window at about 9 p.m. Saturday in Boise, […]

7 hours ago

Associated Press

Woman, 18, dies after being shot at Delaware State University; campus closed

DOVER, Del. (AP) — An 18-year-old woman died after she was shot on the campus of Delaware State University on Sunday, authorities said. Dover police said officers responded at about 1:40 a.m. to a report of shots on the campus. Police said an 18-year-old Wilmington woman who was not a registered student was found with […]

10 hours ago

Associated Press

North Carolina medical marijuana sales begin at Cherokee store

CHEROKEE, N.C. (AP) — Medical marijuana can now be legally purchased in North Carolina with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians opening its long-planned dispensary this weekend on tribal land. Hundreds of people, many with approved medical patient cards to purchase items, celebrated the historic opening of the Great Smoky Cannabis Co. on Saturday within […]

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Army Reserve soldiers, close friends killed in drone attack, mourned at funerals in Georgia