More detail on this person: Colonel Thomas E. Anderson, U.S. Army, Retired, Passed Away on Friday, April 7, 2023 at INOVA Fairfax Hospital. He was 92 years old. Tom Anderson was born October 19, 1930, to Luverne and Violette Anderson in Carrington, North Dakota. The family moved to Chinook, MT in 1936 where he attended elementary school. In 1940, the family moved to Havre, MT where he attended middle and high schools, graduating from Havre High School in 1948. He attained the rank of Eagle Scout and was President of his High School Student Council his senior year. In 1947, after attending the Montana Boys State, He was selected as one of two young Montana men to represent his home state at the American Legion National Boys Nation in Washington, DC. The highlight of the two-week program was personally meeting and shaking hands with President Harry S. Truman in the White House Rose Garden. He was also privileged to meet General George C. Marshall, Founder of the Marshall Plan for Europe. Those notable events dramatically altered his view of his future and provided the impetus for a life-altering future career path for the young boy from the prairies of Montana. Because of his family's financial situation, he had never considered attending college. However, the Washington D.C. experience prompted him to apply to attend Montana State University. Fortuitously, that decision also led to meeting his future wife, Pat Riley. He graduated in 1952 with both a degree in Journalism as well as a commission as an Army Infantry 2nd Lieutenant. He and Pat were married in February 1953. After attending Infantry Officer Training at Fort Benning, GA, he volunteered for airborne training and then served as an infantry platoon leader in the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY. He and Pat established their first of their 33 different homes over the next two decades. While at Fort Campbell, he was drawn to the excitement of flying , rather than jumping out of airplanes. He volunteered for flight training, winning his Army Aviator wings in early 1954, pinned on by his wife, Pat. His initial aviation tour sent him to Korea, followed by a transfer to Japan, where Pat joined him in 1955. Son Gregory was born in Tokyo in 1957. After the Japan tour, he completed Army helicopter Flight Training at Fort Rucker, AL, and was assigned to Long Beach, CA, where son Mark was born in 1958. In 1960, while serving as an infantry company commander in Fort Sill, OK, he was selected to serve as an Aide de Camp to a senior staff officer at the U.S. Army Pacific command in Hawaii in 1960 where, along with the family he served a challenging, but rewarding, three-year tour. Returning to the U.S. in 1964, he was assigned to the 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning, GA. There, while serving as commanding officer for a helicopter company in the division, he was selected by the Division Commanding General to activate and command another helicopter company and deploy it to Vietnam within 35 days. At the time of his deployment, he was not aware that his helicopter unit would prove to have been the lead element of the massive U.S. force buildup in the Republic of Vietnam over the next few years. He commanded that helicopter unit in the Mekong Delta region of South Vietnam for the next year. Returning to the states in 1965, Tom attended the army's Command and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS followed by an assignment in Washington, D.C. in the Army's Officer Personnel Directorate. After Promotion to Lt. Colonel, he moved to a staff officer position in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army. In 1970, while serving in the Pentagon, he was requested by his former Vietnam Battalion commander to return to Vietnam to take command of an Aviation battalion in the Mekong Delta. After his combat command, he returned to the states in 1965, again assigned to the Pentagon with an assignment to the staff of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, He then pursued a year of advanced military schooling at the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, PA. He was promoted to full Colonel in 1973. In 1976, after 24 years of military service, Tom retired from the U.S. Army. His military decorations included three Legion of Merit medals, two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Bronze Stars, 27 awards of the Air Medal (one with `V' device), the Joint Service Commendation medal; two awards of the Army Commendation Medal and four awards of the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry. He was also awarded the Army General Staff ID Badge, the Master Army Aviator Badge and the Parachutist Badge. After a short stint in real estate sales, Tom was hired as a District Manager by PRC Realty Systems in McLean, VA. For the next 13 years he held various management positions within the company until retiring once more in 1999. In 2005, Tom and Pat moved to a 55+ community in Springfield, VA where he served 15 years on the Board of Directors. Survivors include his son Gregory and wife Doreen and their children Michael Riley and Katherine Marie; and his son Mark and wife Caretta and their son Riley Thomas.
Burial information: Arlington National Cemetery
This information was last updated 12/31/2023
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Date posted on this site: 01/20/2024
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