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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

Illustrious Warrior: Living Legend, Brig. Gen. "Bud" Anderson Turns 101

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

WWII Triple Ace Fighter Pilot "Bud" Anderson and his P-51 Mustang, Old Crow, (courtesy photo).

The room was packed with pilots and aviation enthusiasts, yet unusually and mysteriously quiet. One voice, however, could be heard and everyone leaned in to listen with rapt attention.

"Who is this guy?" I asked.

It was at the 2019 Truckee Tahoe Air Show & Family Festival where I first met Brigadier General "Bud" Anderson. His voice was soft, but commanding as he spoke of his WWII flying adventures. Each of us in the room was right there in the cockpit with him mixing it up with German Messerschmitts. You could feel the roar of his P-51 Mustang, Old Crow, as it chased the enemy with full power.

Photo of bronze monument of Bud Anderson outside Wings Bar & Grille at the Auburn Municipal Airport.

This beautiful tribute was created by legendary artist Doug Van Howd. Watch the unveiling here.

"I have him," Bud said. "He must know I have him. I bring my nose up, he comes into my sights, and from less than 300 yards I trigger a long, merciless burst from my Brownings."

Bud Anderson describing a dog fight, (courtesy photo).

From left, Yoxford Boys Richard "Pete" Peterson, Leonard "Kit" Carson, Johnny England and Bud Anderson

collectively recorded nearly 70 victories during the Eighth Air Force offensive in 1944, (courtesy photo).

Yes. Bud had him. And many more, giving him the distinction of being the only living WWII Triple Ace Fighter Pilot. It was impossible not to be drawn in by his solemn manner. His spellbinding stories made us feel what it's like to fly a Mustang, pride for our country, and grateful he was on our side.

A short while after the Airshow I approached Sylas Wright, Editor-in-Chief of Tahoe Quarterly Magazine, with an idea of writing a story about Bud Anderson, who happens to own a home on Tahoe's North Shore.

Sylas agreed to my pitch on the spot. And there began my friendship with Bud Anderson, his son Jim, and grandson Matt.

Bud Anderson's story in Tahoe Quarterly Magazine, As The Old Crow Flies, won a Best Feature Writing Award!

Bud and I spent hours on the phone, including FaceTime, talking late into the night, sometimes past midnight. I was fortunate to have a front-row seat listening to this great man's illustrious accounts of dog fights and other personal life experiences in exceptional clarity and detail.

With Jim Anderson and Bud Anderson at his Lake Tahoe home.

Bud's remarkable story was featured in the Summer 2020 issue of Tahoe Quarterly Magazine. You can read it here.

Family and friends enjoying lunch and famous Wet Woodies at Gar Woods. (Bud Anderson on left, Jim Anderson on right.)

Since then my wife Nicola (in photo above on right) and I have joined Bud and his family at other airshow events and most recently at his honorary promotion to the rank of Brigadier General during a ceremony at the Aerospace Museum of California. You can read the story here.

I've had the good fortune of photographing and writing about Bud Anderson, and sharing some of his achievements and noble qualities through a variety of platforms like this one with you and others.

Bud Anderson honorarily promoted from Colonel to Brigadier General on December 2nd, 2021,

in a rare and historic ceremony presided over by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr.

The word "Hero" is defined as a legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability... an illustrious warrior... a person admired for achievements and noble qualities... one who shows great courage.

Bud Anderson holding a photo I took of his statue outside of Wings Bar & Grille at Auburn Municipal Airport.

Bud Anderson is all of these things and more. He's not only a guiding light for pilots, aviation enthusiasts, and military men and women across the country, he's also an inspiration to the youth who share his childlike love of the sky... future aviators and possible illustrious warriors all of whom are encouraged by this heroic man.

One of many Bud Anderson Superfans, Blake McReynolds, 10, cruising down the street in a mini replica of Bud's P-51 Mustang,

Old Crow, during the 2019 Auburn Veteran's Day Parade, (courtesy photo).


Please join me on January 13th, 2023 in wishing Brigadier General "Bud" Anderson a very special and happy 101st Birthday. Share your comments and well wishes below and I'll make sure he gets them.

Want to know more about Brig. Gen. "Bud" Anderson? Read his book, To Fly and Fight, Memoirs of a Triple Ace. You won't be able to put it down. You can find it here.

My hero, mentor, and friend, Brigadier General "Bud" Anderson, on July 23rd, 2022,

making another featured speaking engagement at age 100 (!) at the 2022 Truckee Tahoe Air Show & Family Festival.


Hello! I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident. I’m a teacher, freelance writer, and photographer. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. I value your attention, it means a lot to me and it helps others see the story. If you're interested in any photos in this post, or in my gallery: click here, let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email:

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