Virgil Delmont Anderson
4-8-1916 to 4-29-1944
Died in plane crash over Broken Bow, Nebraska
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.
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