Military Wiki
Clarence Emil Anderson
Nickname Bud Anderson
Born January 13, 1922(1922-01-13) (age 99)
Place of birth Oakland, California
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Air Force
United States Army Air Corps
Years of service 1942–1972
Rank US-O6 insignia.svg Colonel
Unit 357th Fighter Group
Commands held 355th Tactical Fighter Wing
Battles/wars World War II
Vietnam War
Awards Legion of Merit (2)
Distinguished Flying Cross (5)
Bronze Star
Air Medal (16)
Other work Test pilot

Clarence Emil "Bud" Anderson (born January 13, 1922) is a retired officer in the United States Air Force and a "triple ace" in World War II.


"Bud" Anderson, on the wing of his P-51 Mustang "Old Crow"


Anderson was born in Oakland, California, and reared on a farm near Newcastle, California. In January 1942, he enlisted in the United States Army as an aviation cadet and received his wings and commission as a second lieutenant in September 1942.

Anderson flew two tours of combat against the Luftwaffe in Europe while with the 363rd Fighter Squadron of the 357th Fighter Group, based at RAF Leiston, England, and was the group's third leading ace with 16¼ aerial victories. His P-51D-10-NA Mustang, s/n 44-14450 B6-S, nicknamed Old Crow[1] (after the whiskey of the same name), carried him safely through 116 missions without being hit by fire from enemy aircraft and without Anderson ever having to turn back for any reason. He returned to the United States in February 1945 as a Major.

With over thirty years of military service, Anderson was a test pilot at Wright Field (where he also served as Chief of Fighter Operations) and Edwards Air Force Base (where he was Chief of Flight Test Operations and Deputy Director of Flight Test), served two tours at the The Pentagon and commanded three fighter organizations. From June to December 1970 he commanded the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, an F-105 Thunderchief unit, during its final months of service in the Vietnam War, and retired as a Colonel in March 1972. He was decorated 25 times for his service to the United States.

After his retirement from active duty as a colonel, he became the manager of the McDonnell Aircraft Company's Flight Test Facility at Edwards AFB, serving there until 1998.

During his career, he flew over 100 types of aircraft, and logged over 7,000 hours. Anderson is possibly best known for a close friendship with Chuck Yeager from World War II, where both served in the 357th Fighter Group, to the present. Yeager once called him "The best fighter pilot I ever saw."[2]

In 1990, Anderson co-authored the book To Fly & Fight—Memoirs of a Triple Ace.

On July 19, 2008, Anderson was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame.

Bud Anderson as he appeared in 2011. Anderson is seated second from the right, in the white cap. This picture was taken at EAA AirVenture 2011, as Anderson tells a large crowd his war stories. He sits next to a P-51 Mustang painted in his World War II colors.


COMMAND PILOT WINGS.png  Command pilot

  • American Fighter Aces Association life member
  • Fellow, Society of Experimental Test Pilots
  • Aerospace Walk of Honor, 1993
  • Crystal Eagle Award, 2011


  • Anderson, Colonel Clarence "Bud" with Joseph P. Hamelin. To Fly and Fight, Memoirs of a Triple Ace, Pacifica Military History, Library of Congress. ISBN 0-935553-34-7.

External links[]

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