- Second World War (1939-1945)
- Company B, 5th Tank Battalion, 5th Marine Division "The Spearhead", U.S. Marine Corps
- Awarded for:
- Operation Detachment
"For extraordinary heroism as Acting Executive Officer of Company B, Fifth Tank Battalion, FIFTH Marine Division, in action against enemy Japanese forces on Iwo Jima, Volcano Islands, on 28 February 1945. Learning that the advance of the infantry unit his company was supporting was held up by strong enemy fire emanating from a narrow defile and sweeping the entire front of the supported unit, Captain Sands entered the defile in his tank although he had been warned that the terrain made it impossible for other tanks or infantry to support him and, receiving fire from a hidden anti-tank gun which knocked off the armor plate protecting his gas tank, skillfully maneuvered his vehicle and destroyed the enemy gun and its crew. Although continuously under attack by hostile tank destroyer teams, he proceeded down the narrow passage and destroyed two machine guns and their crews, thereby enabling other tanks and infantry to enter the defile, eliminate all resistance and resume a general advance. His gallant fighting spirit and unwavering devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."