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First Name: Earl

Last Name: Anderson

Birthplace: Morgantown, WV, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Marines (present)

Middle Name: Edward

Date of Birth: 24 June 1919

Rank: General

Years Served: 1940-1975
Earl Edward Anderson

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Earl Edward Anderson
General, U.S. Marine Corps

Earl Edward Anderson was born on 24 June 1919 in Morgantown, WV. He entered West Virginia University, and graduated in 1940 after earning a Bachelor of Science degree. In June 1940, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps and reported to Philadelphia, PA, for Basic School.

Upon graduation from Basic School in February 1941, he was ordered to Sea School, Marine Barracks, Portsmouth, VA, where he served as an instructor. He remained in that assignment until May, when he was assigned to the USS Yorktown (CV-5), which was operating with the Atlantic Patrol.

World War II

With the outbreak of World War II, Anderson and the Yorktown were transferred to the Pacific where they participated in the Gilbert and Marshall Islands Campaign; the Salamaua-Lae Campaign; and the Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. He was serving on the Yorktown when it was sunk during the Battle of Midway. During this time, he was promoted to First Lieutenant in December 1941 and to Captain in May 1942.

Following his rescue from the Yorktown, Captain Anderson returned to the U.S. where he served briefly with Marine Corps Base San Diego, CA, and then with the 2nd Marine Division.

He was ordered to flight training at Naval Air Station Dallas, TX, in the spring of 1943. He was promoted to Major in May 1943, and was awarded the gold wings of a Naval Aviator at Naval Air Station Pensacola, FL, in October 1943. His next assignment was as a flight instructor at Marine Corps Air Station Edenton, NC. He remained there until December 1944, when he returned to duty in the Pacific Area and assumed command of Marine Bomber Squadron 443. He later served as the Executive Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 61 (MAG-61) in the consolidation of the Northern Solomons and the recapture of the Philippines.

Post-World War II

In November 1945, Anderson returned to the U.S. and served in a wide variety of post-war assignments including as a student at the Command and Staff School, Marine Corps Schools (MCS), Quantico; Administration Officer, Division of Aviation, HQMC, and as the Administration Assistant to the Assistant Commandant for Air, HQMC.

He was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in July 1949, and assigned to the Office of the Judge Advocate General, where he served in various branches while a post-graduate student at The George Washington University Law School.

In the summer of 1952, Anderson was ordered to Aircraft, Fleet Marine Force Pacific, where he served as the Executive Officer for Marine Aircraft Group 16 until the spring of 1953 when he was ordered to Korea.

In Korea, General Anderson was the Commanding Officer, Marine Observation Squadron 6, and later became the Assistant Chief of Staff G-I, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Upon his return to the U.S. he was assigned as the Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 26.

During May 1956, General Anderson was assigned to MCS, Quantico, where he served first as an instructor, then Chief of the Air Section, Marine Corps Educational Center.

He was promoted to Colonel in October 1957, and during the summer of 1959, was ordered to the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, PA. He graduated in June 1960, and was ordered to the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing where he served as the Staff Legal Officer until July 1961. He then assumed command of Marine Aircraft Group 36, Santa Ana, CA, where his group participated in more than 13 separate amphibious and field exercises.

In June 1963 he became Chief of Staff, Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG), Vietnam and served in that capacity until the summer of 1964, when he returned to the U.S.

In the late summer of 1964, Anderson became the first Program Coordinator for the Marine Tactical Data System, the largest R&D effort in USMC history. He was promoted to Brigadier General on 3 January 1966, and in February he assumed duty as Deputy Chief of Staff (RD&S), HQMC, the first aviator to be assigned that position. He also continued as the Marine Corps Tactical Data System Program Coordinator.

In December 1967, he returned to the Far East where he assumed duty as the Chief of Staff III Marine Amphibious Force - Republic of Vietnam. He held that assignment until January 1969. While serving in Vietnam he was promoted to Major General on 1 September 1968.

Upon his return to the U.S. he reported to HQMC where he served briefly as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff. In March 1969, he was reassigned as Deputy Director, Personnel HQMC and the Head of the Personnel Department, the first aviator to be assigned to those billets.

In 1970 he was appointed as the USMC member on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee and, in March 1971, was designated by the Secretary of Defense as the U.S. member of the Executive Committee of the Counsel International du Sports Militaire. In 1974 he was elected by the General Assembly to be the first Vice President. He served as President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Armed Forces Relief and Benefit Association from 1972 to 1975.

He was promoted to Lieutenant General in June 1971, and assumed duty as Commanding General FMFLant, Norfolk, VA, in July 1971.

In April of the following year he was named the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps and promoted to General. At the age of 53 he became the youngest active duty Marine to be promoted to the rank of 4-star general in the history of the Marine Corps.

General Anderson retired from active duty in 1975.

Medals, Awards & Badges

Navy Distinguished Service Medal w/ 2 Award Stars
Legion of Merit w/ Valor Device and 2 Award Stars
Distinguished Flying Cross w/ 1 Award Star
Bronze Star Medal w/ Valor Device
Purple Heart
Air Medal w/ 7 Award Stars
Navy Presidential Unit Citation w/ 1 Service Star
Navy Unit Commendation w/ 1 Service Star
American Defense Medal w/ A Device
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal w/ 4 Service Stars
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Korean Service Medal w/ 1 Service Star
Vietnam Service Medal w/ 6 Service Stars
Order of Military Merit, Chungmu Cordon Medal
National Order of Vietnam, Knight
Vietnam Army Distinguished Service Order, 1st Class
Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm (Individual Award)
Zaire National Order of Merit, Order of Commander
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
Philippine Liberation Ribbon
United Nations Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Naval Aviator Badge


In 1973, the State of West Virginia chose General Anderson as the Son of the Year.

He served on the Executive Council of the West Virginia University Alumni Council from 1971 to 1978 and was President of the Association from 1976 to 1977.

He was President of the Leatherneck Association.

He is also the recipient of Honorary Doctors of Law degrees from Thiel College and West Virginia University.

Education and Retirement

In addition to his bachelor of science and master of arts degrees, General Anderson is also the recipient of a Juris Doctor degree in law with highest honors from George Washington University Law School. While attending, he won the first Law Review competition for writing the best law review article among second year students. In his final year, he served as editor-in-chief of the GWU Law Review and was elected to the Order of the Coif. In November 1974, General Anderson received the highest honor the GWU Law Association can bestow. He received the Association's Distinguished Alumnus Award. He is a member of West Virginia University's Academy of Distinguished Alumni and the Order of Vandalia.

He is a member of the Bar of the State of California and the District of Columbia, and is entitled to practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and the U.S. Supreme Court.

General Anderson is also a member of the State of California and the District of Columbia Bar Associations, and the American Bar Association.

Honoree ID: 373   Created by: MHOH




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