WWII Ace Bud Anderson Dies at 102

(UnitedHeadlines.com) – The last of America’s World War II triple aces died in his sleep on May 17 at his Auburn, California, home.

Brig. Gen. Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson was 102.

On his website, his family wrote that he had an “amazing life.”

Born in Oakland, California, on Jan. 13, 1922, Anderson joined the Army’s air wing not long after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

He arrived in Europe in 1943 and served as a fighter pilot and leader with the 357th Fighter Group during WWII, flying in 116 combat missions where he shot down 16 German planes, the third-highest number of “kills” in the group. This earned him the “triple ace” title, which means he was a pilot who had shot down at least 15 enemy aircraft.

During his 30 years of military service, from 1942 to 1972, he logged 7,500 hours in the air in 130 different types of aircraft. In the 1940s and early 1950s, he was a test pilot at what is now the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. During the Vietnam War, Anderson commanded a tactical fighter wing. Throughout his career, he received 16 Air Medals, two Legion of Merit citations, the Bronze Star, and five Distinguished Flying Crosses.

Following his retirement, he worked for the McDonnell Aircraft Company at Edwards Air Force Base in California as the chief of test-flight operations.

At the end of WWII, Anderson, who was 23 years old at the time, held the rank of major, and when he retired in 1972, he was a colonel. In a December 2022 ceremony, the Air Force chief of staff at the time, Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., promoted Anderson to the honorary rank of brigadier general. Brown referred to Anderson as “kind of a wrecking ball of a guy.”

Anderson is survived by his daughter, Kathryn Burlington, son, James, four grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

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