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Clarence Emil Anderson
Clarence Emil "Bud" Anderson sitting on the wing of his P-51D Mustang "Old Crow"
|Born||January 13, 1922|
|Service/||United States Army Air Forces|
United States Air Force
|Years of service||1942–1972|
|Unit||357th Fighter Group|
|Commands held||69th Fighter-Bomber Squadron|
18th Tactical Fighter Wing
355th Tactical Fighter Wing
|Battles/wars||World War II|
|Awards||Legion of Merit (2)|
Distinguished Flying Cross (5)
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal (16)
|Spouse(s)||Eleanor Cosby (1945–2015, her death)|
|Other work||Test pilot|
Clarence Emil "Bud" Anderson (born January 13, 1922) is a retired officer in the United States Air Force and a triple ace of World War II. During the war he was the highest scoring flying ace in his P-51 Mustang squadron. Towards the end of Anderson's two combat tours in Europe in 1944 he was promoted to major at 22, a young age even for a highly effective officer in wartime. After the war Anderson became a well regarded fighter test pilot, and a fighter squadron and wing commander. He served his wing commander tour in combat in the Vietnam War. He retired as a full colonel in 1972, after which he worked in flight test management for McDonnell Douglas. A member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, Anderson has remained a sought after speaker at aviation and military events well into his 90s.
Anderson was born in Oakland, California, and reared on a farm near Newcastle, California. In January 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army as an aviation cadet and received his wings and commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Air Forces in September 1942.
Anderson flew two tours of combat against the Luftwaffe in Europe while with the 363rd Fighter Squadron of the 357th Fighter Group, based at RAF Leiston, England, and was the group's third leading ace with 16¼ aerial victories. His P-51D-10-NA Mustang, AAF Ser. No. 414450 B6-S, nicknamed Old Crow (after the whiskey of the same name), carried him safely through 116 missions without being hit by fire from enemy aircraft and without Anderson ever having to turn back for any reason. He returned to the United States in February 1945 as a major.
With over thirty years of military service, Anderson was a test pilot at Wright Field following the end of World War II, where he also served as Chief of Fighter Operations, and later at Edwards Air Force Base, where he was Chief of Flight Test Operations and Deputy Director of Flight Test. He also served two tours at The Pentagon and commanded three fighter organizations at the squadron and wing level. From June to December 1970, he commanded the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, an F-105 Thunderchief unit, during its final months of service in the Vietnam War, and retired as a Colonel in March 1972. He was decorated 25 times for his service to the United States.
Personal life and retirement
Anderson married Eleanor Cosby, on February 23, 1945. She died on January 30, 2015 in Auburn, California.
During his career, he flew over 100 types of aircraft and logged over 7,000 hours. Anderson is possibly best known for a close friendship with Brigadier General Chuck Yeager dating from World War II, where both served in the 357th Fighter Group. Yeager once called Anderson, "The best fighter pilot I ever saw."
In 1990, Anderson co-authored the book To Fly & Fight—Memoirs of a Triple Ace.
On July 19, 2008, Anderson was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
During his lengthy career, Anderson earned many decorations, including:
|Legion of Merit with one oak leaf cluster|
|Distinguished Flying Cross with four oak leaf clusters|
|Bronze Star Medal|
|Air Medal with three silver leaf clusters|
|Air Force Commendation Medal|
|Air Force Presidential Unit Citation|
|Air Force Outstanding Unit Award|
|American Campaign Medal|
|European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with four service stars|
|World War II Victory Medal|
|National Defense Service Medal with one service star|
|Vietnam Service Medal with two service stars|
|Korea Defense Service Medal|
|Air Force Longevity Service Award with silver and oak leaf clusters|
|Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon|
|Legion of Honour|
|Croix de Guerre, with silver star (France)|
|Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross|
|Vietnam Campaign Medal|
- American Fighter Aces Association life member
- Fellow, Society of Experimental Test Pilots
- Aerospace Walk of Honor, 1993
- Crystal Eagle Award, 2011
- Congressional Gold Medal, May 2015
- Anderson, Colonel Clarence "Bud" with Joseph P. Hamelin. To Fly and Fight, Memoirs of a Triple Ace, Pacifica Military History, Library of Congress. ISBN 0-935553-34-7
- "P-51 Mustang "Old Crow" World War 2 artwork". Cebudanderson.com. 1944-07-11. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
- "Eleanor Anderson Obituary – Auburn, CA | Auburn Journal". Legacy.com. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
- Dogfights, pilot episode
- Sprekelmeyer, Linda, editor. These We Honor: The International Aerospace Hall of Fame. Donning Co. Publishers, 2006. ISBN 978-1-57864-397-4.