Profiles in Valor: Colonel Clarence “Bud” Anderson, Triple Ace Pilot

Profiles in Valor: Colonel Clarence “Bud” Anderson, Triple Ace Pilot


I always want to be a fighter pilot and
I’m not sure where that came from probably in watching the Battle of
Britain films and seeing dogfights and things like that. I thought you know if I
was in a single-engine – single-pilot airplane, I’d be in control of my
environment. When my time came up they said well no no you but Anderson
you you you all you guys are gonna go to a brand new fighter group that’s gonna
train here in the United States and then go fight the war. Then February somewhere in there, that’s when we got signed to this new you know original category of
this new fighter group. Then we got on the Queen Elizabeth one of the two
largest ocean liners in the world and sailed to England. We would become the first
unit in the eighth Air Force you know the strategic when doing a strategic
bombing and in Europe. What that meant was we’re flying a new airplane
that was a tremendous airplane and it kind of saved the air war in Europe. In the
very early days we had these new bombers we were building the 17 Flying Fortress
you know fight its way in, and fight its way out, flying in these large formations
during daylight so we could use the Norden bombsight to go after military
targets and destroy the war-making capability in Germany. Well it
didn’t work that way. By the mid-1943 strategic bombing of Germany was very
much in doubt. Where everyone lost so sixty to eighty airplanes and when
they lose that many bombers you know that’s ten member crew. I said okay we gotta have gotta have the fighter escort. We had the Pioneer Mustang group that was in Europe signed to the 9th Air Force
waiting for the invasion so to speak. It was gonna be the first ground support
unit for the invasion. We got over there in 1943 November through 54th really
good outfit their Mustang was in nine and they didn’t make the news so to speak. So they were the 8th Air Force average combat mission was about four and a half hour. The longest mission I ever flew was six hours and 55 minutes on D-Day. The
8th Air Force was run by bomber pilots.And the people that believed in strategic warfare and things like that and they told us how to escort and they wanted us
to be close – to want us to stay close to him – they want us surrounding them you know and when the enemy came in you were supposed to drive them away and come
back. Luftwaffe had to be defeated before we could invade Europe. It was mandatory and we had to never share superiority. We had to shut down them you know make it
impossible for the left off to put up a major effort to stop the invasion. The
arrival of the Mustang and the change of command who live to take a charge.
I think the significant factor in the air war in Europe. He said, “The 8th Fighter Command is to destroy the Luftwaffe.” And he changed
the tactics he says, “from now on you fighter pilots when you engage the enemy,
take them to the ground and hold them. I think most historians will agree that
the spring of 1944 was when we broke the back of the Luftwaffe. We destroyed it by
killing their experienced pilots. it’s called pursue and destroy.

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