Reaching the century mark in life would be accomplishment enough for most people — but apparently not for the last surviving American “triple ace” fighter pilot of World War II.
Retired Force Col. Clarence “Bud” Anderson will receive an honorary promotion to brigadier general by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. C.Q. Brown Jr. in a ceremony at the Aerospace Museum of California on Friday.
A flying ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down five or more enemy aircraft in aerial combat. At 100 years old, Col. Anderson is one of only 14 living U.S. aces and the highest-scoring living U.S. fighter pilot from World War II, Air Force officials said.
Col. Anderson flew in 116 combat missions with the 357th Fighter Group during WWII. He shot down 16 enemy aircraft in a P-51 Mustang that he named “Old Crow,” reportedly in honor of the bourbon brand.
The California native was decorated 25 times during his 30-year military career, which included combat in Vietnam, where he commanded the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing.