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Families of 3 Georgia Army reservists killed in drone attacks in Jordan prepare for funerals

Killed in the attack were Sgt. William Jerome Rivers, 46, of Carrolton; Spc. Kennedy Ladon Sanders, 24, of Waycross; and Spc. Breonna Alexsondria Moffett, 23, of Savannah. 

“I’m still in shock,” said Oneida Oliver-Sanders Monday at her home in Waycross. Her 24-year-old daughter, Specialist Kennedy Sanders, was among the casualties. 

Oliver-Sanders said her daughter loved life. 

Sanders enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve in 2019 and became friends with Breonna Moffett. Both women became horizontal construction engineers and were first assigned to the 381st Engineer Company in Tifton. They were later assigned to Fort Moore, previously called Fort Benning, near Columbus. 

Rivers, a native of Willingboro, New Jersey, enlisted in The U.S. Army Reserve in 2011 as an interior electrician. In 2018, he completed a 9-month rotation to Iraq. 

Moffett was from Savannah and was 23 years old. 

“She was my firstborn,” Francine Moffett said as she fought back tears. “She was so amazing.” 

Her mother says she’s proud of her daughter. 

“I was the first female in the family to join the military,” Francine Moffett said, “so she became the second.” 

Rivers’ family declined a request for an interview. An American flag flew outside their Carrollton home. 

Sanders joined the Army Reserve five years ago, her father said. She previously deployed to Djibouti before volunteering to go to Kuwait, a trip that included a few months in Jordan where the U.S. operates a logistics support base along the Syrian border. 

In her spare time while deployed, Sanders would practice jiu-jitsu and run to keep in shape. She relaxed by knitting and called home almost daily, her parents said. While she occasionally mentioned drones being shot down nearby, there was no sense of imminent danger. 

“She was speaking with her mom the day before,” Shawn Sanders said. “It wasn’t like they were at high alert or in a secure bunker.” 

Though some family members had seen TV news reports of the drone attack, Sanders’ parents said they weren’t aware anything was wrong until military officers knocked at their door Sunday. Shawn Sanders said he waited 20 minutes while his wife came home from work. He said he immediately suspected the worst. 

“I knew, being a former member of the armed services,” he said. “I wanted it to be something different. But I knew then.” 

Sanders’ mother said her daughter had talked of becoming a full-time Army soldier on active duty once her reservist contract was up. She was considering buying a home. And she looked forward to more trips and had even studied Italian in hopes of visiting Italy someday. 

“All of these different things that she had plans for, you know, were just cut short in the blink of an eye,” Oneida Sanders said. “I just feel like somebody like her, that’s so full of life, it’s just unfair that she’ll never get to realize those dreams that she had.” 

President Joe Biden has promised that the U.S. will respond. 

Shawn Sanders said he’s confident Biden will make an appropriate decision. Asked what he thinks would be the correct response, the grieving father declined to say. 

“Out of anger for losing a child,” he said, “I just can’t.” 


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1 Comment

  1. Douglas G Stabler SR on February 4, 2024 at 6:03 pm

    I live in Colorado Springs and will be there to stand for all three if possible. They stood for us, gave all and are my military family. USMC, Vietnam Vet (‘67-‘69)

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