Bud Anderson Dies at 102: World War II Triple Ace Fighter Pilot

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Written By Vikas Jangid

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Bud Anderson Dies

Legendary World War II fighter pilot Brigadier General Clarence Emil “Bud” Anderson passed away peacefully in his Auburn, California home on May 17, 2024, at the age of 102.

A Life Filled with Distinction: From Early Days to World War II Heroism

Anderson's family announced his passing on his website, sharing, "Bud" Anderson peacefully passed away in his home, surrounded by his family. We were fortunate to have him as our father. Dad led an extraordinary life and was cherished by many. He lived to be 102! Thank you for all your heartfelt comments and messages."

Source: Twitter/Task & purpose 

Born in 1922 in Oakland, California, Anderson's passion for aviation blossomed early. He even obtained his pilot's license at the young age of 19 while attending college. Following the U.S. entry into World War II, Anderson enlisted and became a commissioned second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Forces.

Anderson's exceptional skills as a fighter pilot during World War II earned him the prestigious "triple ace" designation, signifying that he had successfully downed 16 enemy planes over Europe. He wasn't just a skilled pilot; he was a courageous leader, completing two combat tours and flying a total of 116 missions throughout the war.

Beyond World War II: A Legacy of Continued Service

Anderson's dedication to his country extended far beyond World War II. He continued his military service after the war, leading a squadron of F-86s in Korea and later commanding an F-105 squadron in Okinawa.

He also served during the Vietnam War, flying missions as the leader of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. Anderson ultimately retired from the military in 1972 with the rank of colonel.

In a fitting tribute to his lifelong commitment and achievements, Anderson received an honorary promotion to brigadier general in 2022. Charles Q. Brown, then-Chief of Staff of the Air Force, presided over the ceremony, commending Anderson's distinguished career and his lasting impact on the Air Force's history.

A Celebrated Life Leaves Behind a Legacy of Valor

"Bud" Anderson is survived by his son Jim Anderson, daughter Kitty Burlington, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. His passing marks the end of an era, as he was the last surviving triple ace fighter pilot from World War II.

Bud Anderson's life serves as a testament to courage, dedication, and unwavering service. His legacy will continue to inspire generations of aviators and military personnel to come.

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