Opinion

Bud Anderson, Last of World War II’s ‘Triple Ace’ Pilots, Dies at 102

Brig. Gen. Bud Anderson, who single-handedly shot down 16 German planes over Europe in World War II and became America’s last living triple ace, a fighter pilot with 15 or more “kills,” died on Friday at his home in Auburn, Calif., northeast of Sacramento.

General Anderson, who teamed with the renowned Brig. Gen. Gen. Chuck Yeager in combat and later in the storied age of pioneering test pilots, was 102.

His family, in a statement on General Anderson’s website, said he died in his sleep.

In his 30 years of military service, General Anderson flew more than 130 types of aircraft, logging some 7,500 hours in the air.

Piloting P-51 Mustang propeller fighters in World War II — he named them Old Crow, for his favorite brand of whiskey — he logged 116 missions totaling some 480 hours of combat without aborting a single foray.

When World War II ended, he held the rank of major at 23 years old. When he retired from active duty in 1972, he was a colonel.

His decorations included two Legion of Merit citations, five Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Bronze Star and 16 Air Medals.

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