31 December, 2023

Profile 171: Bell P-39Q as flown by BG Clarence "Bud" Anderson, 357th FG


Finished — the Bell P-39Q as flown by BG Clarence "Bud" Anderson.

And, a 2024 salute for all!

But before that...

*break break*

The superlatives and legend that surround this man will have to come at a later date; I've been wondering how to express gratitude for Bud's example for YEARS and I'm not much closer to getting the words right than I was nearly twenty five years ago.

But suffice it to state, Bud represents - for many, many - the palpable, personification of the word "Great."

Have another look at the "Airacobra" above.

Bud never took it into combat (it'd likely have been shot out from under him in the high-pressure, high altitude skies of WWII Europe).  Instead, Bud flew it stateside, learning the skills and acumen required to Represent against Hitler's vision.

Evidently, Bud passed his training.  If you're a History Geek, you know.  If not, this will suffice:  when the proof of the putting arrived, he became a 'triple ace' with 16.25 victories.  He also established himself as able to lead others in mortal peril.  Later, he became a test pilot, author, speaker, General... 

Bud and his P-39Q.  And his 1939 Ford.
(Buy the book).

But back to 2024.

For me, I've learned incalculably powerful lessons in leadership, excellence, humility and potential through my introduction to Bud.  

Frankly, it's changed my life in challenging, wonderful ways!  But not without some sacrifice — a few years ago, a noted business leader remarked, "You know, your (interviewing old combat vets) has rendered you unemployable.  You've seen a higher standard than most.  Can you live up to that?"

My reply, "We'll see."

On that note - a salute for 2024!

(raises coffee cup)

"To the impending greatness of 2024 - of example, of inspiration and of enough power that one day, WE get to do the same for the generations to come!"

And achieve something Great for ourselves in the process, too.

Bud, c. December, 2022 receiving his BG star.
Photo: USAF

NOTE:  Very soon, prints will be made, Bud will sign them and the Distinguished Flying Cross Society will have them available to (presumably) frame and hang on a wall.