Profile: Ernest Anderson
Like so many others, Anderson saw his first combat in the worst possible place: Utah Beach on the Normandy peninsula on June 6, 1944, otherwise known as D-Day.
“There was a greeting,” Anderson said, not trying to conceal his sarcasm. “Hello, fellas. Come on in.”
From then on, his tank crew was called upon to do numerous jobs, including taking on German King Tiger tanks, one of the most feared weapons of the European campaign.
He was in the 3rd Army, 6th Armored Division under Gen. George S. Patton’s command, and he went along with others in the 3rd Army to relieve American soldiers who had been encircled in Bastogne, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge.
His tank and others in his unit later ran of out gas for several days in their race across Europe, in part because Patton had gone too far, too fast. Patton’s commander, Gen. Omar Bradley, needed the gas so the rest of his 12th Army Group could catch up.
Eventually, Anderson would help liberate numerous towns, POW camps, and even two concentration camps.
“There was a guy in a prison, and he had a cane that he had whittled while he was a prison. He gave it to me,” Anderson said. “I still have it.”