Orvil A. Anderson

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Orvil A. Anderson
Born(1895-05-02)May 2, 1895
Springville, Utah
DiedAugust 22, 1965(1965-08-22) (aged 70)
Montgomery, Alabama
Place of burial
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Service
Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps
Years of service1917–1950
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Major General

Major General Orvil Arson Anderson (May 2, 1895 - August 24, 1965) was a pioneer balloonist. In 1935 he and Albert William Stevens won the Mackay Trophy when they set a record of 72,395 feet in their balloon Explorer II.[1]

Early career[edit]

Born Orvil Orson Anderson, on May 2, 1895 in Springville, Utah. An Army clerical error changed it to Orvil Arson Anderson when he joined the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in August 1917.

On July 28, 1934 he participated in the Explorer I Stratospheric Balloon Fight which reached an altitude of 60,613 feet before he had to bail out due to safety concerns.

In 1935 he and Albert William Stevens won the Mackay Trophy, the Harmon Trophy and the National Geographic Society Hubbard Medal[2][3] when they set a record of 72,395 feet in their balloon Explorer II.[1]

Anderson received the Distinguished Flying Cross for each of the two Explorer flights.

World War II[edit]

In World War II he was in the Air War Plans Division and was involved in planning the Combined Bomber Offensive against Germany.

Korean War[edit]

In 1950 Anderson was the Commandant of the USAF's Air War College. He was one of many Americans frustrated by the limitations placed upon American conduct of the Korean War. It was no secret that the North Koreans were acting on behalf of their sponsor, the Soviet Union, but as the Truman administration did not want the war to expand into a global conflict, fighting was limited to the Korean peninsula. When, in September, Anderson told a newspaper interviewer, “Give me the order to do it and I can break up Russia’s five A-bomb nests in a week! And when I went up to Christ, I think I could explain to him why I wanted to do it—now—before it is too late. I think I could explain to him that had saved civilization,” the president suspended him. He retired shortly thereafter.[citation needed]

General Anderson died on August 22, 1965 of lung cancer at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama.[4]



  1. ^ a b "Gondola Steamed 73,000 Feet In Air. Captains Stevens and Anderson, Arriving in Chicago, Say They Were Mystified. Stratosphere Balloonists, With Capt. Williams, Ground Officer, Will Reach Capital Today". New York Times. November 13, 1935. Retrieved 2011-05-26. Captain Orvil A. Anderson and Captain Albert W. Stevens declared here today that they are willing to take another trip into the stratosphere at any time, and are confident that on the next endeavor they will surpass their record fourteen-mile ascent.
  2. ^ First High-Altitude Photo Archived 2010-01-18 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ National Geographic Society Hubbard Medal, Captain Orvil Anderson
  4. ^ "General Anderson of Air War School. High-Altitude Balloonist Dies". New York Times. August 25, 1965. Retrieved 2011-05-26. Orvil Anderson died at Maxwell Air Force Base Hospital Monday after an extended illness. He was 70 years old. General Anderson, a former commandant of ...