Bud Anderson Kept Flying After Serving His Country
By Maria Morrison
About 70 years ago, 20 year old Clarence Emil “Bud” Anderson was enlisted in the United States Army as an Aviation Cadet for WWII. After flying two combat tours in his P-51, Bud Anderson came back home. However, he felt his work was not done. He spent another half of a tour as a volunteer on the training command so the people there could go to war.
He was there as a teacher when the war ended. Not knowing what to do, he decided to go home and keep flying, which he did for the next 30 years. In between his tours, he married his wife of 68 years, Ellie. Although she wasn't there to worry about him going to war in the beginning, Anderson’s family was. All able-bodied men of the right age were being drafted into the war, so he and his family saw it coming when he was asked to help fight for his country. His mother was worried for him, but like everyone else on his family, she was very supportive.
In between his tours, he knew that he still wanted, needed, to fly again. By then he was a double ace, meaning that he had shot down 10-14 enemy planes. When he finished his second tour, he had shot down 16 1/4 planes, becoming one of the few triple aces in the air force. When his military flying time was over, he felt that he had done his part. After the war, adapting to a “normal” life was easy. He was getting married and that was a start of a new life anyway.
On his leave days, he stayed at the base and rested. At the end of the month, he was offered a three day pass to go off the base, so he and his buddies went to London. They took in the sights of the London Bridge, and the Buckingham Palace, but mostly just tried to have fun.
Growing up on a secluded farm, Bud Anderson grew up with the life of a farm boy, with his father reading the bible every night at dinner, having a list of chores, and being very family oriented. Nothing prepared him for being a triple ace and legend of WWII.
When asked about the name Old Crow for his P-5190 year old Bud Anderson bursts out laughing. “I tell all of my non-drinking buddies that it’s named after the smartest bird in the sky,” Says Bud, “but all of my drinking friends know that it’s after the Kentucky whisky.” One time, at a WWII hero event, Ellie was asked about the name. “Most pilots name their planes after their sweethearts, so I don’t know what’s going on here. You can decide.”
(Pictured: ANN reporter Maria Morrison with Bud Anderson)