JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Carl Anderson is a
member of “the Greatest Generation,” and he may have the
greatest sense of humor.
A member of the 101st
Airborne Division, the famed “Screaming Eagles,” during
World War II, the 91-year-old Anderson bypassed the hustle
and bustle of May 8's National Mall Victory in Europe Day
anniversary commemorations to leisurely watch the flyover
from the Whipple Field hill on the Fort Myer portion of
Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall. Besides the 15 waves of
planes that flew over the National Mall during the Arsenal
of Democracy flyover, which commemorated the 70th
anniversary of VE Day, some on Whipple Field were
entertained by Anderson's sharp wit.
May 8, 2015 - World War II Army veteran Carl Anderson, 91, and his daughter Martha Perry watch the Arsenal of Democracy Flyover from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall's Whipple Field
that is adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery, immediately across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. Anderson, a paratrooper who jumped during D-Day, was part of a crowd of several hundred spectators to watch vintage military aircraft which commemorated the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall PAO photos by Jim Dresbach)
“I just want to
see someone stick their hand out of the [Washington]
Monument and shake their hands when they're flying by,”
Anderson said when asked what he was looking forward to
seeing the most.
Not only was he quick with the
jokes, he was quick with the stories. As word passed that
Anderson was a World War II veteran, the Arlington, Va.,
resident was greeted by civilian spectators.
first of all, God bless him; he looks wonderful for his
age,” said Dean Popps of McLean, Va. “He looks like he is
ready to still get to the door of the airplane. He helped
keep the world free and it was great to go to him and say
Through the stories, Anderson recalled
his whereabouts on the original VE Day in 1945. He was right
in the middle of the biggest story of that day.
were stationed outside of Reims; they were signing the peace
treaty that day,” he told those listening. “The crowd [in
Reims] was worse than the New Year's crowd at Times Square
[in New York City].”
Surrounded by his family
members, Anderson continued to mesmerize JBM-HH guests with
70-year-old stories from his war-time campaigns during D-Day
and the Battle of the Bulge. In June 1944, enemy fire hit
his aircraft while he descended on Normandy; he jumped from
the burning plane.
“I hope I jumped, or I wouldn't
be here today,” he said while some laughed at his
matter-of-fact humor. “I know I jumped; I didn't go very
far. It [the fire] really lit up the inside of the plane. It
could have been flack or machine gun fire because we were so
When asked about his crow's nest view from
Whipple, he was impressed, but started the conversation with
a light hearted crack.
“They look like mosquitoes
from here,” said Anderson, who saw the interior of a few
C-47s when he parachuted into Europe.
that received the most attention from JBM-HH viewers were
when the Boeing B-29 Superfortress flew past the Lincoln
Memorial and the tight formation of the P-51 Mustangs which
buzzed past the Washington Monument and below the World War
By Jim Dresbach, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall
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