George Anderson did a lot during his three years in the military.
The northern Illinois native was drafted into the Army in the fall of 1943 when he was 18 years old and a only junior at DeKalb High School.
After 17 weeks of basic training on 155-millimeter howitzers, Anderson was assigned to the 760th Field Artillery Battalion, where he went on to serve in New Guinea, the Philippines and Japan during World War II.
In his first combat mission, he provided supporting artillery fire for the infantry on the pockets of Japanese who still were holding out in the foothills and mountain areas of New Guinea. In his second mission, he provided supporting fire for 99 straight days in the Philippines during the Battle of Luzon.
Later, two atomic bombs were dropped on Japan and the war was over, and his battalion sailed to Japan for occupation.
Anderson was discharged in 1946 and returned to DeKalb, where he earned his high school diploma. He later worked at Northern Illinois University for 26 years as a stationary engineer before retiring and moving to Florida with his wife, Anna Maria Anderson, of 59 years.
Now 88-years-old, Anderson recently published, “Army Life 1943 to 1946: A Cannoneer’s Memoir of Combat in the Pacific,” which is available on www.amazon.com. He recently spoke with Daily Chronicle Web Editor Lawerence Synett about serving his country and his memoir.
Synett: How would you sum up your time in the Army?
Anderson: I enjoyed the service. I was young and met a lot of buddies. When a person is 18 years old, they look at things a lot differently. In my case, I did what I was told to do, wasn’t wounded and didn’t earn any medals. I went in, did what I had to do and enjoyed my time. If they needed extra support, we went there. Our job was giving supporting fire wherever it was needed. I’m very happy I made it back in one piece.
Synett: What made you want to write this book?
Anderson: My son (Mark Anderson) talked me into it. I’m not a very good writer and am not highly educated, but it is good that my time in the service can be remembered this way. As we get older, a lot of people kind of forget about the World War II and a lot of the sacrifices a generation went through. It’s nice to remember our past.
Synett: What’s your advice to today’s servicemen and women?
Anderson: Things have change so much, and I think they need to go in with the idea that you will do the best that you can. You have to follow order and be a good soldier. When I went in, I really got to the point where I did everything the Army way. I tried to follow the rules, and that is good advice for anyone – make the most of your experience in the service.
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