Earl E. Anderson bigraphy, stories - Assistant Commandant of the United States Marine Corps

Earl E. Anderson : biography

June 24, 1919 -

General Earl Edward Anderson (born June 24, 1919), the youngest active duty Marine ever promoted to the rank of General and the second active duty Marine Naval Aviator to be promoted to a 4-star rank, became Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps on April 1, 1972. He was promoted to General on March 31, 1972. General KB McCutcheon had been promoted to four star rank the day of his retirement for medical reasons on July 1, 1971.

During his 35-year Marine career, he has served in combat actions in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Post-World War II

In November 1945, Anderson returned to the United States and served in a wide variety of post-war assignments including as a student at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia; Administration Officer, Division of Aviation, Headquarters Marine Corps (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, Anderson was the Commanding Officer, Marine Observation Squadron 6 (VMO-6), and later became the Assistant Chief of Staff G-I, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing. Upon his return to the United States he was assigned as the Executive Officer and then Commanding Officer of Marine Aircraft Group 26.

During May 1956, Anderson was assigned back to MCS, Quantico, Virginia, 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, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. 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, California, 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. For his service with the MAAG, he was awarded the Legion of Merit and gold stars in lieu of his 7th and 8th Air Medals.

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 January 3, 1966 and, in February, 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. For that duty he was awarded a gold star in lieu of a 2nd Legion of Merit.

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 and for his service was awarded a Navy Distinguished Service Medal. He also was awarded a Knight of the National Order of Vietnam, the Vietnamese Army Distinguished Service Order (1st Class), a Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Palm, and a Korean Order of Military Merit Chungmu Cordon. While serving in Vietnam he was promoted to Major General on September 1, 1968.

Upon his return to the United States 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 United States Olympic Committee and, in March 1971, was designated by the Secretary of Defense as the United States member of the Executive Committee of the Conseil International du Sport 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 (an insurance company catering to military servicemembers) from 1972 to 1975.

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