WWII Fighter Pilot Passes Away at 102

WWII Fighter Pilot Passes Away at 102

(RepublicanView.org) – World War II veteran Brig. Gen. Clarence “Bud” Anderson has died at age 102. The former US fighter pilot who shot down more than two dozen German planes during the global conflict died in his sleep on May 17 at his home in California.

Born in the Golden State in 1922, Mr. Anderson joined the US Air Force in 1942, training at Luke Field, Arizona, before his deployment as part of the 357th Fighter Group. Anderson was among the first Air Force fighters to go into combat flying the North American P-51 Mustang, which destroyed hundreds of Nazi aircraft.

At the end of the war, Brig. Gen. Anderson was credited with 16.25 wins over Nazi pilots. Fractions are afforded to troops if they were part of a team that took out enemy forces. Anderson earned the title “triple ace” for successful attacks on 15 Nazi planes, and his death marks the passing of the last American triple ace of World War II.

Thanks to his impressive war record, Anderson was promoted to Major at age 22 and later became a wing commander, serving a combat tour in the Vietnam War before retiring in 1972. Mr. Anderson later worked at an aerospace manufacturing company, McDonnell Douglas, and entered the National Aviation Hall of Fame in 2008. He was honored with an entry to the International Air and Space Hall of Fame five years later. He received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2015, and the Air Force Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. A statue of the triple ace stands in the Auburn Municipal Airport in California.

Anderson married Eleanor Cosby in 1945, and they stayed together until her death in 2015, days before her 92nd birthday. The couple had two children.

When he reached his 100th birthday in 2022, officials in his hometown of Auburn hosted a public celebration, and he was promoted to honorary brigadier general by the chief of staff of the Aerospace Museum of California, General Charles Brown.

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