COLONEL CLARENCE E "BUD" ANDERSON USAF RETIRED
Col Anderson is a WW II Triple Ace fighter pilot and a veteran military experimental test pilot.
During WW II he served two combat tours
escorting heavy bomber over Europe in the P-51 Mustang, Nov 1943 through Jan
1945. He flew 116 combat mission (480 hrs) and destroyed 16 and 1/4 enemy
aircraft in aerial combat and another one on the ground.
He has an extensive flight testing background spanning a 25 year period. At Wright-Patterson AFB OH he was a fighter test pilot and later became Chief of Fighter Operations. He flew many models of the early jet fighters and was involved in two very unusual flight test programs. He made the first flights on a bizarre experimental program to couple jet fighters to the wingtips of a large bomber aircraft for range extension. Later he also conducted the initial development flights on the F-84 Parasite fighter modified to be launched and retrieved from the very large B-36 bomber. At The Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards AFB CA Col Anderson was assigned as the Chief Of Flight Test Operations and later Deputy Director of Flight Test. While there he flew the Century series fighters and all the other types of aircraft in the Air Force inventory. He has flown over 130 different types of aircraft and has logged over 7500 flying hours.
Other assignment in his 30 years of continuous military service include duty as: Commander of an F86 Squadron in post war Korea, Commander of an F-105 Wing on Okinawa, and two assignments to the Pentagon as an advanced R & D staff planner and as Director of Operational Requirements. Further, he served in Southeast Asia where he was Commander of the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. Col Anderson flew bombing strikes against enemy supply lines and later was in charge of closing the first large air base when his combat wing was deactivated
Col Anderson was decorated 25 times. His awards include 2 Legion of Merits, 5 Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star, 16 Air Medals, the French Legion of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre, as well as many campaign and service ribbons.
He learned to fly at age 19 gaining his private pilots license in 1941 through the Civilian Pilot Training Program while attending college. In Jan 1942 he entered the US Army Aviation Cadet Program receiving his wings and commission in Sept 1942. He received his test pilot training by completing the AMC Performance Course (1948) and the Stability and Control Course (1949) while at Wright-Patterson AFB OH.
Born in Oakland CA he spent his early years on a rural farm near Newcastle CA. He attended Placer Union High School, Sacramento Jr College and the George Washington University. Military education includes the Air Command and Staff College and the Army War College. He is a life member of the American Fighter Aces Association and holds the rank of Fellow in the Society of Experimental Test Pilots.
He is married to the former Eleanor Cosby of Auburn CA, they have been married over 60 years. They have two children and four grandchildren.
After retirement from the Air Force in Mar 1972 he joined the McDonnell Aircraft Company and served for 12 years at Edwards AFB as Manager of the Company Flight Test Facility.
After full retirement in 1984 the Andersons moved from Lancaster and now reside in Auburn CA. In 1990 Col Anderson wrote an autobiography with another author which has been described by The Historian Of The Air Force as "the finest pilot memories of WW II". In this book titled "TO FLY AND FIGHT' Gen Chuck Yeager describes Anderson as " a mongoose, .. the best fighter pilot I've ever seen".
Bud remains an avid pilot, maintaining his Flight instructor rating and flying P-51s. He lectures on his flying experiences, has consulted on computer flying games, participates in written and online interviews and writes articles for aviation periodicals. Featured in the History Channel "Dog Fight" series and the Military Channel "Showdown: Air Combat." Bud was honored to be inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.
Date: 7 July 05
Portrait Photo Courtesy of Mr. Bob Wizner