Spc. Micheaux Sanders deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 fresh from Army basic training.

Sanders tank crew and two others from his unit - C Company, 2nd Battalion, 37th Armor -- were called to the aid of a 1st Cavalry patrol trapped in an ambush by Iraqi insurgents.

"There were blown up Humvees all over," said Sanders.

"They were throwing everything at us," said Sanders. "They were shooting AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades, pistols, shotguns and throwing grenades."

The tankers fired back, but were low on ammunition. Because the unit had been scheduled to move, the tanks had been prepared for transport, and were carrying only a minimum load of ammo.

Sanders said he did his best, standing exposed to the enemy in one of the tank's hatches and firing whatever he or his fellow crewmembers could find.

A round struck Sanders in the arm, slicing straight through his shoulder and out the other side, but he says he barely noticed, waving off the medics who tried to come to his aid.

When the bullets ran out, Sanders still wouldn't give up.

"I threw whatever I had at them," he said. "When we ran out of bullets, I threw rocks."

Sanders was awarded the Silver Star when the 1st Armored Division was welcomed home to Germany in October.