WWII ace set to speak at Truckee Tahoe Air Show

Submitted to the Sun

The Truckee Tahoe Air Show and Family Festival has announced World War II triple-ace fighter pilot Clarence “Bud” Anderson as this year’s honorary guest speaker.

A retired colonel of the United States Air Force, Anderson will relive his combat days through stories and videos during the air show on Saturday, July 13, in what surely will be a gripping and captivating presentation for all ages. The speaker presentation, admission to the air show, and parking at the event are all free.

Anderson, an Oakland, native was 19 when he learned to fly, earning his private pilot license in college in 1941 through the Civilian Pilot Training Program. In January 1942, he entered the United States Army Aviation Cadet Program and received his wings and commission in September 1942.

During World War II, he served two combat tours with the renowned 357th Fighter Group based in England from November 1943 through January 1945, escorting heavy bombers over Europe in the P-51 Mustang. He flew 116 combat missions totaling 480 hours and destroyed 16 and ¼ (shared with three other flight members) enemy aircraft in aerial combat, in addition to another one on the ground.

Anderson earned more than 25 awards during his military career. Following the war, he flew and led flight test programs in Ohio and California, and also led fighter squadrons during post-war Korea and in Vietnam. After retiring from the United States Air Force in 1972, Anderson worked for more than a decade in flight test operations for McDonnell Aircraft Corporation. He was inducted into the EAA Warbirds of America Hall of Fame in 2017.

Anderson has logged 7,500 flight hours in 130 different types of aircraft and was once called by good friend and aviation legend, Chuck Yeager, the best pilot he had ever seen.

A member of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, Anderson will be saluted July 25 at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, the world’s largest gathering of warbirds with more than 300 aircraft participating. The program will be highlighted by a reunion of North American P-51 Mustangs, the aircraft flown by Anderson during the war.

The P-51 is one of the most important military aircraft in aviation history. The Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing is bringing a P-51D Man O’ War to the Truckee Tahoe Airport Thursday, July 11 through Sunday, July 14, and will offer paid rides in this historic aircraft. The Commemorative Air Force Man O’ War has been converted to a two-seater, so people can be a passenger in this iconic aircraft and experience it first-hand. Visit to reserve a ride. A portion of each ride sale goes to Truckee North Tahoe youth organizations.

Anderson will speak about his combat days in the P-51 in the Experimental Aircraft Association building at the Truckee Tahoe Air Show starting at noon on Saturday, July 13. He will also be signing copies of his book, “To Fly and Fight — Memoirs of a Triple Ace” which will be available for purchase. This free presentation will run 45 minutes, but please note that this speech is subject to change, as the decorated colonel is now 97 years old.

The free Truckee Tahoe Air Show & Family Festival is July 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and will feature world- renowned aerobatic performers, aircraft static displays, a STEM Expo, the Truckee KidZone Museum’s Family Festival, VIP hospitality tent sponsored by Mountain Hardware and Sports (tickets on sale online), vendors, food, music, and more.

Children 8 and older can stop by the Experimental Aircraft Association building to sign up for a free airplane ride with an Experimental Aircraft Association volunteer Young Eagles pilot for July 14. A new addition to this year’s air show is a partnership with Safe Launch Healthy Futures and the organization’s Flights Above Addiction program in which young adults and children can paint an airplane following a brief introduction on the effects of drugs/alcohol on young adults’ brains.

The Truckee Tahoe Air Show and Family Festival, which offers free admission and free parking, is presented by the Truckee Tahoe Airport District. The opening ceremony kicks off at 10 a.m. Pets are not permitted at the show.

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