The highly decorated last living WW II Triple Ace fighter pilot pilot Clarence C.E. “Bud” Anderson will see his 100th birthday on January 13, 2022. Part of the U.S. Army Air Forces’ 357th Fighter Group, Anderson’s squadron started flying missions in the UK in 1944.
Col. Anderson, author of To Fly and To Fight, is generous with his time. Before the pandemic, Anderson participated regularly in air shows and aviation events around the country. And he has ensured a lasting legacy by lending his name to a flight scholarship endowment in his hometown of Auburn, California with a local volunteer aviation organization, the Auburn Aviation Association (AAA).
AAA Development director Don Wolfe said, “Col. Anderson continues to represent the Greatest Generation in promoting flight to young people and he has graciously allowed the Auburn Aviation Association to manage his scholarship funds along with our own.”
Approximately four dozen young people have been awarded AAA scholarships over more than thirty years of the organization’s existence. The program has grown considerably over the last few years when AAA focused their efforts on an endowment featuring the Col. C.E. “Bud” Anderson Flight Scholarship. The community of pilots has rallied to support this effort with individual and legacy donations, corporate donations and fundraising efforts, not to mention giving time and personal instruction to fledgling pilots.
“The most promising candidates have a leg up on receiving these gifts of flight time,” said Wolfe. “It’s not about whether or not a kid has resources; it’s about desire and drive. An important component of the program is tapping young professional pilots as mentors for newcomers on their aviation journeys.”
Large numbers of military fighter pilots who came out of WW II went to work in the aviation industry, but the country is now seeing a shortage of pilots. Col. Anderson has represented his peer set well and, in keeping with the mission of the AAA, he’s inspiring young people to fly. Despite being highly decorated and celebrated, Col. Anderson remains, with his usual unassuming manner, “just happy to be here.”
You are invited to acknowledge this significant milestone and assist Col. Anderson on his mission providing flight scholarships to aspiring young aviators by making a donation in his name directly to the Auburn Aviation Association Educational Endowment Fund (AAAEEF) at the Placer Community Foundation. This endowment will support aviation related scholarships and grants given in honor of Col. Anderson for decades to come. Be sure to include a personal note to Col. Anderson with your donation.