Wilford Lormer Anderson

Wilford Lormer Anderson

World War II · US Navy · Petty Officer Third Class

Memorial for Wilford L. Anderson

World War II (1939 - 1945)
Served For

United States of America

Added by: crumpcorner712
Conflict Period

World War II

Added by: crumpcorner712
Branch

Navy

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Rank

Petty Officer Third Class

Added by: crumpcorner712
Gold Star

Yes

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Stories about Wilford Lormer Anderson

WWII Fallen – Petty Officer 3rd Class, Wilford Lormer Anderson, USS Hughes

    Wilford was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 12, 1923. His parents were John Wilford Anderson and Laura Wold, both were born in Norway. According to the 1930 Census, his father’s occupation was a laborer in a brick yard and his mother stayed at home. By the time the 1940's Census came, it would no longer show his father listed because he passed away in 1935 when Wilford was just 9. Wilford had two younger sisters, Betty and Norma and one little brother, Carl, who also served in the Navy during WWII. Wilford graduated from Granite High School and was employed at an office supply store, Pembroke Co., before he entered the service.

    Wilford enlisted in the Navy on December 12, 1941 at the age of 18. When he completed Navy Boot Camp, he was shipped out February of 1942. Wilford’s job in the Navy was Water Tender. As a Water Tender, on a steam powered ship, he kept the the boilers powered with fuel and going strong. He spent many hot days and hours in the engine room of the USS Hughes.

    During the first part of 1942, the USS Hughes participated in the Battle of Midway and in August, participated in the Guadalcanal campaign. In October and November, the ship took part in the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands and the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.

    The USS Hughes left the South Pacific at the beginning of 1943 and was sent to the Aleutians. She participated in two bombardments of Kiska Island in July and remained there through August. January through April 1944, the USS Hughes continued serving with carriers during amphibious assaults on the Marshal Islands and Hollandia, New Guinea. In October 1944, they took part in the invasion of Leyte, an island in the Philippines. October, November and December found the ship still in the same location performing routine patrols of the islands.

    The following is a recount from Louis P. Swan, a fellow shipmate of Wilford. In 1965 he wrote this memory of December 10, 1944, the day Wilford died:

    “…We had just finished the Ormoc Bay landing and were now anchored in Leyte Gulf. We had been the flagship for the operation under the flag of Rear Admiral Struble. Although the day was spent in taking on provisions and ammunition, it seemed like a busman’s holiday not being in some hot action for a change. However, as in any hot war, a day of rest has to end sometime, and for us it ended about 1400 when we were to depart for our picket station off the island of Dinagat.

    Normally pickett duty is considered routine and none of the ships crews cared for the duty. The ships selected for picket duty would just cruise around the area trying to pick up enemy planes on their radar screens that could not be detected by the land-based radar due to the mountainous terrain. We were just another destroyer that was on picket duty in the Dinagat area at 1700 that day. However, we never saw the other ship. We arrived on station at 1650 and the skipper was giving us a rundown on what to look for and since some of these islands were no more than mountains jutting out of the sea, we were told that the radar would be ineffective in some areas.

    While the skipper was passing the word over the P.A. system, another voice was heard in the background informing him that a flight of ten bogies (enemy planes) has been picked up on radar. No sooner had the word come over the loudspeaker than the General Quarters alarm was sounded….All hell seemed to break loose. All the 5 inch 38-caliber guns were firing simultaneously and the 20-mm and 40-mm guns were chattering like a cage of excited monkeys. The enemy planes were circling just out of range of our weapons and probably deciding who would be the first to die for his glorious Emperor. Suddenly one of the planes broke formation and was approaching the Hughes from our starboard side where he intended to crash into us. However, the hail of fire was so great that he swung in a circular motion around the stern of the ship and was coming in on our port side now. All guns were trained on this lone challenger and tracers could be seen flying all around him.

    At last we could see that plane’s engine was on fire. We had scored a hit! Everyone was excited and thought surely the plane would either explode or crash into the water. But no, although the plane was burning fiercely, the plane was still heading in a death dive for our ship. We tried evasive action but to no avail. The plane crashed into our port side midships, gouging a huge hole in the side and main deck. The planes engine continued down into the engine-room where a tremendous explosion shook the destroyer…….”

    A final count of casualties that day was eighteen dead and forty wounded.

    Wilford was killed in action from injuries sustained from this Kamikaze attack. He is buried at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park in Milcreek, Salt Lake County, Utah. Throughout his years of service, Wilford earned various awards including the Good Conduct Medal and **Legion of Merit Medal. He was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal. Thank you, Wilford Lormer Anderson for your sacrifice. May we never forget.

    **Side Note - The article in the Salt Lake Tribune on September 12, 1948 mentioned that Wilford received the Legion of Merit Medal. I was not able to find the official paperwork to confirm this.

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    This story is part of the Stories Behind the Stars project (see www.storiesbehindthestars.org). This is a national effort of volunteers to write the stories of all 400,000+ of the US WWII fallen here on Fold3. Can you help write these stories?

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    REFERENCES:

    Find A Grave –

    https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/70904864/wilford-lormer-anderson

    History of USS Hughes –

    http://destroyerhistory.org/goldplater/usshughes/

    Newspapers –

    https://www.newspapers.com/image/598762138/?terms=%22wilford%2BL.%2Banderson%22

    Obituary –

    https://www.newspapers.com/clip/55949192/obituary-for-wilford-l-anderson/

    1930 Census –

    https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XH68-7Y7?from=lynx1UIV8&treeref=KWJC-VKY

    1940 Census –

    https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VT4Q-4J9?from=lynx1UIV8&treeref=KWJC-VKY

    Louis Swan’s Recall:

    http://www.modelwarships.com/features/words/swan/swan.htm

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    Additional Info
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    Created:
    23 Jul 2020
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    28 Jul 2020
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