In Memory of
Army Captain
Virgil Delmont Anderson
Salem, SD
4-8-1916 to 4-29-1944
Died in plane crash over Broken Bow, Nebraska

Virgil Delmont Anderson

On April 8th in 1916 Arthur and Mabel Anderson of rural Salem had a son named Virgil Delmont Anderson.  Virgil was one of three children.  Virgil was active in band and always tried to have an agricultural project to work on.  He graduated from Salem High School and with a couple of friends headed towards the West Coast.  His brother Laurel remembers him writing back one time saying, ĒSometimes when we were passing through the mountains, the hills would get too steep we would have to get out and push.Ē  He reached California and enrolled in Chaffy Jr. College.  He then transferred to the University of South California.  Virgil used to work part time at a clothing store and for an orchard farm.  In 1942, Virgil married June Hepp on March 22.

Virgil enlisted in the army in Omaha, Nebraska.  He requested a transfer so he could get training in Tulare, California.  Virgil didnít receive a great deal of training before he was shipped over seas in 1942. While overseas he was stationed in a camp in Northern Africa.  He was a captain of his crew that flew a B-24 Liberator Bomber.  Cpt. Anderson took part in the first bombing raids over Ploesti Oil Fields in Rumania. While stationed in Northern Africa he made several bombing runs.  He was even wounded once when a piece of shrapnel went through his hand.  Cpt. Anderson said, ďIt was never scary going into the area you were to bomb.  It was getting out of there that frightened you,Ē Virgilís brother Laurel told me.  When Cpt. Andersonís bomber plane was shot down it was reported to have over 100 bullet holes in it.  Cpt. Anderson survived the crash and by using the Turkish Underground was able to hide from German troops.  He went as far as acting like drunken Norwegian sailors to conceal his identity.  When he arrived safely back in Northern Africa he was shipped to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In Albuquerque, Cpt. Anderson began training inexperienced pilots how to fly B-24 Bombers.  On one routine flight which was to the northeastern part of the United States back to New Mexico, Cpt. Anderson wanted to see if he could land the plane down in the Sioux Falls airport, but at the time it wasnít large enough.  So they headed down towards New Mexico.  As they were passing through Nebraska the misty weather outside along with the high altitude and cold weather began to ice up the plane. Unfortunately this plane was not a newer model and didnít carry with it equipment for deicing planes.  The mist froze up the plane and sent the crew crashing into the earth somewhere in the hills of Broken Bow, Nebraska.  The reports said the plane was split and scattered on three hills.  It also looked as if it were trying to turn around.

Virgil Delmont Anderson died on April 29th, 1944.  Funeral services were held at the Lutheran Church of Rural Salem. He is also buried at the Lutheran Church of Rural Salemís cemetery.  Virgil's wife, June Kane is residing in California.  Virgilís brother Laurel and sister Delores still live in South Dakota.  Virgil Delmont Anderson was a great brother, a great man, and a great soldier that fought for our country.  He was given the Purple Heart for when he was injured in battle by the shrapnel.  His death was such a tragic death for a man that accomplished and saw so much in his life.

Virgil Delmont Anderson

This entry was respectfully written by Jason Schroeder, 10th grade, West Central High School, Hartford, South Dakota.  The brother of Virgil, Laurel Anderson of Montrose, South Dakota, and Virgilís sister Delores Jackson of Salem, South Dakota gave information for this soldier.