Bud Anderson, last triple ace pilot from World War II, dead at 102

Bud Anderson

Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson Jr., the last surviving triple ace pilot from World War II, died May 17. He was 102.

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Anderson died at his home in Auburn, California, The Washington Post reported. His daughter, Kitty Burlington, confirmed his death but did not give a cause.

A year ago, Anderson had been promoted after his retirement to brigadier general, according to

“We were blessed to have him as our father. Dad lived an amazing life and was loved by many. He was 102!” Burlington and her brother, Jim Anderson, said in a statement posted to the pilot’s website. “Thank you for all your kind comments and messages.”

Anderson was credited for shooting down 16 kills by himself and also contributed to downing a 17th plane, giving him 16 1/4 kills, the Post reported. In military parlance, a flying ace is an aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy planes, according to the newspaper.

Born in Oakland, California, on Jan. 13, 1922, Anderson joined the U.S. Army Air Forces on Jan. 19, 1942, according to Air Force Times. He earned his pilot’s wings at Luke Field, Arizona, later in 1942.

During World War II, Anderson named his P-51 “Old Crow,” the Post reported.

Anderson later commanded an F-86 squadron during the Korean War and flew Republic F-105D fighter-bombers over Vietnam, according to the military website.

According to his website, Anderson flew more than 130 types of aircraft, accumulating more than 7,500 flying hours.

In 1959, Anderson co-wrote his autobiography with Joseph P. Hamelin, “To Fly and Fight: Memoirs of a Triple Ace.

During his career, Anderson received two awards of the Legion of Merit, five awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal and 16 awards of the Air Medal, the Post reported.

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