PROFILE OF A MUSEUM
Jack Anderson was born on June 30, 1923 in Fresno, California and was
educated in local schools. He entered
the U. S. army on December 31, 1942 and took 13 weeks of infantry basic training
at Fort McCellan.
Jack was held over as an instructor for a year and a half and then
decided he would volunteer for the U.S. Army’s Paratroopers School at Fort Benning in Georgia.
He found the three months training to be rigorous but invigorating.
September 15, 1944 Jack landed in Naples, Italy. After two weeks he was sent up the
Mediterranean Sea to Marseilles in the South of France. From there he continued up the Maritime
Alps which are located near the borders of France, Italy and Switzerland. He was then assigned to the 517th
Parachute Regimental Infantry Combat Team which made a combat jump into the
south of France on the 14th of August 1944. There, Jack fought the Germans all the way
up the Maritime Alps. Three weeks
later he was relieved by other American Troops and made a forty mile hike
down to the Nice-Cannes area located on the French Rivera.
two weeks later his outfit was en route to Lille, France in 40 X 8’s which
were actually freight train rail cars that were built to haul cattle. The trip was through a lot of winter snow
and he found himself approximately 600 miles to the north when the journey
ended. His outfit was alerted three
times to make combat jumps over the Rhine River but each were cancelled as
General George Patton’s troops had over run their drop zone.
outfit became foot soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge for the next 90 days
and sustained some heavy fighting in the combat zone. Finally, his units were split up five times
and attached to 13 other divisions including the 82nd
Airborne. Jack was wounded in the
Battle of St. Vith Belgium and his entire battalion
was awarded the Belgium Croix de Guerre by Prince Charles. He served in the Ardennes, Rhineland and
Central Europe campaigns.
was shipped to the United States and was officially discharged in November of
1945. Jack returned to Fresno,
California where he met his wife Esther Blake. They have one daughter, one granddaughter
and three great-grand children. In December of 1994 he was given an
autographed photo of the King and Queen of Belgium from Guy Trouveroy, who was the Belgium General Consuls from the
Los Angeles Belgium Consulate Office.
He along with 40 other Bulge veterans received a citation of
appreciation for service rendered during the Battle of the Bulge.
was Detective Sergeant for the Fresno County Sheriffs
Office for 28 years, serving from 1949 until his retirement in 1977. Early in 1997 he became a welcome docent
for the Legion of Valor Museum.