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.


Around 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.

About 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.


Jack’s 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.


He 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.


Jack 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.