Veterans to be honored this weekend
There has never been a time in Col. Clarence “Bud” Anderson’s life that he hasn’t wanted to fly.
Anderson, 90, originally of Newcastle, now lives in Auburn and will serve as the honorary parade grand marshal for this year’s Veterans Day parade with Sgt. 1st Class David Blalock as grand marshal.
Anderson retired from the US Air Force in 1972 and was a “triple ace” in World War II.
A “triple ace” means Anderson shot down five enemy airplanes during three different missions, though he has a total of 16 ¼ aerial victories. The additional victory was shared among Anderson and three other pilots.
“I’ve always been fascinated by aviation. It became a passion for me when I was a kid; I was absolutely fascinated by flying,” Anderson said.
During his two tours of combat, Anderson flew against the Luftwaffe, or Germany’s aerial air force branch, with the 363rd Fighter Squadron of the 357th Fighter Group, according to his biography. Anderson flew with the P-51 Mustangs, nicknamed Old Crow, for 116 missions and was never hit by enemy fire and was never forced to turn back for a mission.
Anderson remembers everything throughout his 30 years of military service from sharing the victory between the four planes to the day he qualified to enlist one month after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
“I rushed down on my 20th birthday, raised my right hand and was gone,” he said.
After coming home as a captain in 1945, Anderson was a test pilot at Wright Field and Edwards Air Force Base and served two tours at the Pentagon.
He was decorated 25 times for his service and moved back to Auburn in 1984. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and has penned a book about his experiences.
Yet he still remembers his first time flying over Auburn and Newcastle in 1927.
“I remember that vividly, the way it felt and smelled. I was thrilled, a little scared, but thrilled,” Anderson said.
This Sunday, Anderson will be honored at the Veterans Day parade along with Blalock, who will be representing the National Guard and Reserves. This year, the parade will specifically recognize the National Guard and Reserves along with all other veterans, according to Cynthia Haynes, event chairperson for the Veterans Day events.
“We are honoring all of our veterans, but recognizing the reserves since they are all the ones who are fighting all of the wars that are currently going on,” Haynes said.
Blalock, 44, of Cool, is originally from Knoxville, Tenn., and has served as a California National Guardsman for most of his 20-year military career. Now he is assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 184th Regiment in Auburn.
Blalock is a recipient of the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal and the Bronze Star with “V” for valor, among his many decorations.
Haynes said Blalock was chosen to be grand marshal in Sunday’s parade on the recommendation of numerous veterans’ organizations. She added that she thinks with more than 800 participants within 44 entities in the scheduled lineup, this will be the biggest Veterans Day parade in years.
A $5,000 grant from the PG&E Employee Resource Group has helped put it all together, she said. The remaining funds will go toward local schools.
“This year is going to be great. I think it’s going to be one of the biggest parades Auburn has ever seen,” Haynes said.
The parade will begin at the intersection of Lincoln Way and Cleveland Street and pause at Central Square for a ceremony. Veterans who cannot walk the parade route but wish to ride it instead should contact Roberta McGuinn at (530) 885-3731 and then arrive at the National Guard Armory in Auburn between 9 and 9:30 a.m. Sunday.
When the parade pauses at Central Square at 11 a.m., white doves will be released and a rifle squad will present a 21 gun salute, present the colors, and Placer High students David Guevel and Jane Honda will play taps. The Flying Doctors will conduct a fly over and the parade will continue on to the National Guard Armory at the Gold Country Fairgrounds.
After the parade, a celebration will be held at the armory where free hotdogs will be handed out and presentations from Mayor Kevin Hanley, Vice Mayor Mike Holmes and Placer County Supervisor Jim Holmes will be given. Placer High student Chanda Eubanks will sing the national anthem and “thank you” notes from E.V. Cain Middle School students will be handed out to veterans.
After the celebration at the armory, a statue of Anderson that is being created can be viewed by the public from noon to 2 p.m. at the Special Douglas Van Howd Studio at 13333 New Airport Road in Auburn. At 2:30, Anderson will cut the ribbon that will officially open Col. Bud Anderson Way at the intersection of Old Airport Road after speeches by Mayor Kevin Hanley and Congressman Tom McClintock.
At 3:30 p.m., a reception will be held at Hangar 53 at the Auburn Municipal Airport hosted by Inger and Harvey Lundershausen of Continental Gold and Construction. At 5 p.m. a dinner will be held at Hangar 51 hosted by Sean McKenzie and Merv Hall.
The dinner is reservation only and tickets, which are $30 each, can be purchased from the Auburn Chamber of Commerce at (530) 885-5616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All proceeds go toward completing the statue of Anderson.
“I’m a little bit overwhelmed by it. I’m humbled and appreciative,” Anderson said. “It’s pretty nice to have your hometown and county honor you.”
Contact Amber Marra at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @Amber_AJNews.
What: Auburn Veterans Day Parade
When: Sunday, Nov. 11, 10:45
Where: Parade begins at the intersection of Lincoln Way and Cleveland Streets and heads to Central Square and onto the National Guard Armory
Who: Col. Clarence “Bud” Anderson
What: Road Opening Ceremony
When: Sunday, Nov. 11, 2:30 p.m.
Where: Intersection of Col. Bud Anderson Way and Old Airport Road
Who: Meadow Vista Garden Club
What: Blue Star Memorial By-Way marker presentation
When: Sunday, Nov. 11, 11 a.m.
Where: 1101 Meadow Vista Road