By: Ben Thomas and Michael Kirkpatrick
Brigadier General Anderson spoke at our Chapel on November 5th for Veterans Day. He is the father of James Anderson and the grandfather of Jake and Samantha Anderson who are students at Brook Hill.
“One Nation under God.” These are the words our country is founded on. Veteran’s Day is a time to honor and give the respect the men and women that serve our country deserve. One man in particular has lived as an example and model of a Christian man.
Brigadier General James L. Anderson has accomplished many things throughout his career these are a few. Graduating from West Point in 1956 as an Army Ranger, and serving as an advisor in South Vietnam in 1962, he was awarded a Silver Star and two Purple Hearts for his courage. After three tours in Vietnam he served a total of 42 years.
Anderson lived out a very trying childhood. At the age of 15 months his mother died leaving him an orphan. The orphanage that he was brought up in was run by a group of Catholic Nuns, and so he was raised a religious person.
After graduating high school he went to West Point where he graduated as an Army Ranger. On Anderson’s first tour to Vietnam in 1963 he went as an advisor to the Vietnamese 9th Infantry Division. Anderson assisted the Vietnamese Battalion Commander by leading a bayonet assault that routed a much larger attacking force. It was the first time the Army of the Republic of Vietnam defeated a major Viet Cong ambush during the Vietnam War.
On Anderson’s second tour of Vietnam he received a personal call from General Creighton Abrams with an invitation to be the general’s aide in Vietnam. General Anderson agreed to the assignment on the condition he would have the opportunity to command a battalion while he was in country as well.
In the particular battalion he was serving in there was a lot of racial tension between both his African American and his Caucasian soldiers. Within a short while General Anderson turned morale around in the unit, gaining the trust and respect of all soldiers. He would later lead the battalion during the invasion of Cambodia in May 1970. First Cavalry made the deepest penetration into Cambodia of any American force in Vietnam. The unit was awarded the Valorous Unit Citation for this action.
Upon his return from Vietnam in 1970, General Anderson would serve at the Pentagon in the Office of the Special Assistant for the Modern Volunteer Army. The Army had relied on the draft since the Civil War. General Anderson was responsible for developing the framework and strategies that led the Army to become the highly effective and highly trained all volunteer force that serves America today in Iraq and Afghanistan.