John E. Anderson

Posted on February 25, 2010

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I am including a photo of John when he was 13 and it was his 8th grade photo from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Columbus, GA.  This photo is how I best remember him.  Other memories and information is below.
 
I went to school with John from 1960 – 1963, when we were both in Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic school in Columbus, Ga.   I was 10 in the 5th grade and John was 11 and one year ahead of me.  John’s 8th grade class raised money to build a water fountain on the playground and I remember him being very involved in that.  I can still remember the pride and joy on his face when they had a ceremony dedicating it to the school.  He went on to high school and I lost track of him for a few years.  During those grade school years, I mostly remember how involved he was in the Church and how devout he was.  It is strange to have flashes of memory of playing games on the playground and kneeling in church.
Just before my father left for Vietnam (1968), my parents moved to a house around the corner from where John lived.  His parents were active in the Church and I remember chatting with his mother and finding out he had joined the Army
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In the summer of 1968, I was at Ft. Wolters, Texas at a picnic.  One of the WOC’s (Warrant Officer Canidate) training had a brand new Camaro that he was showing off and was very proud of.  It was one beautiful car!!  The big, blond guy walked up to me and said “I know you!”.  I thought it was some sort of come-on line and was a bit rude.  I then realized that it was John.  We spent the next few hours catching up on friends from school and gossip.  I ran into him several times at parties and other gatherings that summer.  Mostly I remember him sitting behind the wheel of his Camaro and gunning the engine.
 
In 1969 I had moved back to Columbus, GA and a friend told me that she had heard that  John had been killed in Vietnam.  I went to his house and found out that the rumor was true.
 
John still creeps into my life in the strangest ways.  In 1999, I talked my husband into going to a Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Assn. reunion in Nashville.  We were sitting at a very large table and didn’t know anyone.   The man sitting next to me was a police officer  and did not approve of women in police work.  Since I had been a cop for over 20 years there was not much we could talk about.    I noticed that he had a CAV unit on his name tag and was in Nam in 1969.  I asked him if he knew a kid by the name of John Anderson.  He introduced me to Julie Kink (sitting across the table).  Julie’s brother was in the same helicopter accident that John was killed in. 
 
Julie and I stayed in touch for a while and she introduced me to John’s daughter, Jeannie.  It turns out that Jeannie and I know quite a few of the same people and our paths have crossed several times over the years.  This is strange since she lives in Florida and I left Columbus, GA in 1971 and seldom go back.  She has a great husband and 3 children. 
I can only think how much John has missed.  He was 20 when he was killed and his daughter is now 41.  He would be so proud of her and the kids,she is one fantastic lady.
 
After this long rendition, I can sum up memories of John in a few lines.
 
The 13 year old 8th grader in the photo I have attached.  Playing on the playground, going to Mass every day, and trading Superman comic books.
Flash forward a few years – a big, husky blond guy proud of his Camaro and sitting in the front seat and gunning the engine.  Cocky, as all soldiers are.  Mostly, though I remember that he always had a big grin on his face.
 
Eva
 
John was assigned to Charlie Troop on March 22, 1969 and was Killed in Action on July 21, 1969. John was a Pilot of an OH-6A Light Observation Helicopter. John was awarded the Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and a set of Army Aviator Wings.

If any family member or friend reads this blog, please contact me as I am looking for pictures and personal stories about this brave man.

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