WWII Hero, Bud Anderson, Dies Aged 102

WWII Hero, Bud Anderson, Dies Aged 102

(DailyDig.com) – A WWII fighter pilot, Brigadier General Clarence “Bud” Anderson, was the last living American who shot down 16 Nazi planes (a triple ace). He died at age 102 at home on May 17.

On his website, Anderson’s family posted a message expressing the love their father received from his family, friends, and those acquainted with his remarkable life. They thanked everyone for their kind messages and condolences.

He was born in California and enlisted in the US Army Air Force in 1942, only one month after Pearl Harbor. The 357th Fighter Group sent him to Europe as a member of the 363rd Fighter Squadron. He flew a P-51 Mustang, and his first combat flight left him feeling fortunate that he survived and gained important experience to give him confidence.

In an interview in 2022, he discussed his first kill, shooting down a German plane. It happened after a sortie, as they were heading back to base. They found three Messerschmitts and engaged them in combat. He engaged one of the planes and pulled high “g’s” (gravity) as the two planes circled. He stated that he was firing blind, as it was impossible to line up to fire accurately at 90 degrees.

The next moment he viewed the plane, it was smoking, the pilot ejected, and he wondered if he had been lucky or if another of his fellow pilots had made the kill. After they returned to base, the pilot of the plane close to him exclaimed that he had witnessed the best shot at 40 degrees. Anderson said he ran to the telephone to claim his first downed plane.

Anderson flew 116 missions during his combat career, earning his triple ace status by downing 16.25 enemy planes (the “.25” came from multiple pilots contributing to the plane’s downfall). He gave his P-51 the name “Old Crow,” which he said was the whiskey brand he favored.

When he retired in 1972, Anderson served 30 years in the military. He once said that the P-51s saved the allies.

His children, Kitty and Jim, survived Anderson.

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