Anderson, Clarence “Bud”

Bud Anderson hails from northern California, where he was born January 13, 1922 and grew up on a farm in the little town of Auburn, relatively insulated from the effects of the Great Depression.  Always interested in flying, Bud attended junior college and took on a job at the Sacramento Air Depot, and he was there when he learned of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.  When the call for war came, Bud answered; he went into fighter pilot training in California and Arizona, and eventually reported to the 357th Fighter Group, where he was given the first of his P-51 Mustang fighters, an aircraft where he went on to be a triple ace.  Sent over to England, Bud and his fellow pilots began to fly missions escorting the bombers of the 8th Air Force.  It did not go well at first; Bud recalls that bomber losses were high, and there were disputes about the best tactics to employ.  That began to change when Gen. Jimmy Doolittle arrived; the rules of engagement changed, and the men of the 357th began to destroy the Luftwaffe.   Bud flew numerous missions, both before and after D-day, and on June 6 itself he did his part to keep the Normandy beaches clear of German aircraft.  He also developed a friendship with fellow flight leader Chuck Yeager during the war, one that continued during their long air force careers.  On leave late in the war, he went to console the widow of a good friend who had been killed on a mission; the two of them grew close and later married.  Bud did return to do another combat tour, and by age 22 he was a major.  Bud was back in the U.S.A. when VE Day happened, happy that he and his fellow soldiers did their part to stop all that fighting and killing.  Bud chose the air force as a career, and he served at home and overseas for many more decades, as a test pilot and in Korea, and he even volunteered to fly missions in Vietnam – when he was in his late 40s.  We interviewed Bud over zoom for this project, at various points in early 2021.