George Whelan Anderson Jr.

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George W. Anderson
Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board
In office
May 1, 1970 – March 11, 1976
President Richard Nixon
Gerald Ford
Preceded by Max Taylor
Succeeded by Leo Cherne
United States Ambassador to Portugal
In office
October 22, 1963 – June 1, 1966
President John F. Kennedy
Lyndon Johnson
Preceded by Charles Elbrick
Succeeded by Tapley Bennett
Chief of Naval Operations
In office
August 1, 1961 – August 1, 1963
President John F. Kennedy
Deputy Claude Ricketts
Preceded by Arleigh Burke
Succeeded by David McDonald
Personal details
Born (1906-12-15)December 15, 1906
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died March 20, 1992(1992-03-20) (aged 85)
McLean, Virginia, U.S.
Education United States Naval Academy (BS)
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1927–1963
Rank US-O10 insignia.svg Admiral
Commands USS Mindoro (CVE-120)
USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)
Chief of Naval Operations
Battles/wars World War II
Cold War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star

George Whelan Anderson Jr. (December 15, 1906 – March 20, 1992) was an admiral in the United States Navy and a diplomat. He served as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) between 1961 and 1963, and was in charge of the U.S. blockade of Cuba during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in Brooklyn, New York,[1] Anderson entered the United States Naval Academy in 1923 and graduated with the class of 1927. After graduation he became a Naval Aviator and served on cruisers and aircraft carriers, including the USS Cincinnati.

In World War II he served as the navigator on the fourth USS Yorktown. After the war he served as the Commanding Officer of the escort carrier USS Mindoro and of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also served tours as an assistant to General Dwight D. Eisenhower at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Radford and as chief of staff to the Commander in Chief Pacific.

Flag assignments[edit]

As a flag officer he commanded Task Force 77 between Taiwan and mainland China, Carrier Div 6 in the Mediterranean during the 1958 Lebanon landing and as a vice admiral, commanded the United States Sixth Fleet.

As Chief of Naval Operations in charge of the United States' quarantine of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Admiral Anderson distinguished himself in the Navy's conduct of those operations; Time magazine featured him on the cover and called him "an aggressive blue-water sailor of unfaltering competence and uncommon flair."[1] He had, however, a contentious relationship with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. At one point during the crisis, Anderson ordered McNamara out of the Pentagon's Flag Plot when the Secretary inquired as to the Navy's intended procedures for stopping Soviet submarines;[2] McNamara viewed Anderson's actions as mutinous and forced the Chief of Naval Operations to retire in 1963. Many senior naval officers had believed Anderson's next appointment would have been to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[1]

Other public service and post-Navy career[edit]

Anderson took early retirement, largely due to ongoing conflict with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.[3]

President John F. Kennedy subsequently appointed Admiral Anderson Ambassador to Portugal, where he served for three years and encouraged plans for the peaceful transition of Portugal's African colonies to independence. He later returned to Government service from 1973 to 1977 as member and later chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.

After his retirement from the navy, he was chairman of Lamar Corporation, an outdoor advertising company, and was a director on the boards of Value Line, National Airlines and Crown Seal and Cork.

Family and last years[edit]

His first wife was Muriel Buttling (November 9, 1911 – October 20, 1947). His two sons, George W. Anderson III (April 21, 1935 – January 11, 1986) died of brain cancer and Thomas Patrick Anderson (April 3, 1942 – June 24, 1978, who flew more than 200 combat missions in Vietnam). Admiral Anderson died March 20, 1992, of congestive heart failure at the age of 85, in McLean, Virginia.[1] He was survived by his second wife of 44 years, the former Mary Lee Sample; a daughter, a stepdaughter, 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. He was buried on March 23, 1992, in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.

George Jr, Muriel Buttling, sons George III and Thomas Patrick are all buried at Arlington.



  1. ^ a b c d "George Whelan Anderson Jr., Admiral, United States Navy". Retrieved May 1, 2010. 
  2. ^ Dallek, Robert (2003). An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917–1963. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-17238-7. 
  3. ^ "Robert McNamara's Feud with Admiral George Anderson". Retrieved May 21, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
Arleigh Burke
Chief of Naval Operations
Succeeded by
David McDonald
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Charles Elbrick
United States Ambassador to Portugal
Succeeded by
Tapley Bennett
Government offices
Preceded by
Max Taylor
Chair of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board
Succeeded by
Leo Cherne