Presentation Date: May 24, 2012
Master Sergeant Wilford Andy Anderson US Army (WWII)
Born March 1921 in Salt Lake City, Utah. At age 5, he moved to Oakland, CA. Wife Phyllis (deceased) was born in Oakland, CA Andy attended UC Berkeley through his junior year and then volunteered for the paratroops.
He trained at Camp Toccoa, GA with a special unit of para-ski troops that were organized to jump behind enemy lines in Europe (it was supposed to become part of the 10th Mountain Division). This unit was disbanded and Andy joined the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR), 101st Airborne Division, the famous "Screaming Eagles."
When the division was ordered to deploy to England, a Colonel Boyle asked him to stay behind to help organize a special airborne unit that would include infantry, engineers, and artillery: the 517th PIR. Andy became the Platoon Sergeant of Company C, 3rd Platoon, 1st Battalion.
After its formation and training, the unit left by ship for Naples, just north of Anzio. During combat in Italy, Andy and a fellow soldier (who he referred to as Lumpdeedump) captured 15 German soldiers and killed another ten in three continuous actions. For this, both were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, our nation's second highest military honor.
His first and only combat parachute jump was in Southern France, after which the unit fought its way north to Belgium to participate in the Battle of the Bulge.
His last duty assignment was somewhat cushy. As the war wound down, he was stationed in Paris and assisted with the educational programs for GI's.
Returning to New York in 1947, he completed his last year of college at UC Berkeley. After an interesting conversation with a professor there, he married his fiancée Phyllis (to whom he had been engaged for four years during the war) and re-entered the civilian world.