Brigadier General James R. Andersen
U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) Army Air Forces, Pacific Ocean Area (AAFPOA)
Missing aboard a C-87A Liberator Express February 26, 1945
James Roy Andersen was born on January 19, 1888 in Racine, Wisconsin. Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1926 and comissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with serial number
O-016407. During 1945, he was the Deputy Commander of the 20th Air Force (20th AF).
Missing In Action
On February 25, 1945 took as a passenger aboard C-87A Liberator Express 41-24174 that departed Guam piloted by Major Francis E. Savage on a special flight transporting senior officers to Kwajalein Airfield (APO 241) as the first leg of their flight bound for Hickam Field (APO 953) then onward for meetings about the campaign against Japan in Washington, DC. Aboard was Lt. General Millard F. Harmon, Commanding
General AAFPOA and Brig General James R. Andersen Deputy Commander of the 20th AF plus other senior staff.
On February 26, 1945 took off from Kwajalein Airfield at 10:45am on the next leg of the flight bound for Hickam Field (APO 953). The weather was reported as broken clouds at 3,000' - 6,000'. Last contact was by radio at 12:15 with Sgt Stanley H. Long, reporting the aircraft's position as 11° 15' north, 174° 15' east. This aircraft went missing over the Pacific Ocean between Kwajalein and Hawaii.
Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1926. That August, he joined the 2nd Infantry at Fort Sheridan Illinois, and served at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; the Aberdeen (Maryland) Proving Ground Command and Picatinny Arsenal, New Jersey. Andersen as first lieutenant was with the Ordnance Department at Selfridge Field, Michigan from 1932-34. By 1936 he was promoted to captain and began cadet training, getting his wings at Kelly Field, Texas; and assignment to Hickam Field, Hawaii. During World War II he returned to West Point as an instructor, with promotion to colonel by early 1943. That June he went to the War Department General Staff in Plans. Andersen was promoted to brigadier general in January 1945, and went to the Pacific Theater where he was assigned as chief of staff of HQ AAF, Pacific Ocean Areas. He lost his life along with that of his commander, Lieutenant General Millard F. Harmon, Jr. on February 26, 1945, in an aircraft crash between Kwajalein and Johnston Island while en route to Hawaii.
For his military service, Andersen earned the Legion of Merit.
The entire crew was officially declared dead on February 26, 1945. Administratively he was officially declared dead on February 27, 1946 a year after he went missing. Since this aircraft was lost over a non-combat area, none of the crew or passengers earned the Purple Heart, posthumously. He was one of the few U. S. Generals missing or killed during World War II.
He also has a memorial marker at Arlington National Cemetery at memorial section, site 7. He also has a memorial marker at Brunswick Memorial Park in Brunswick, GA. Below the memorial marker with an Andersen Air Force Base dedication plaque that reads: "Andersen Air Force Base - Guam Marianas Islands Dedicated 15 April 1950 in memory of Brig General James Roy Andersen 1904-1945 Missing in action 26 February 1945 while serving as Chief of Staff Pacific Ocean Area".
On October 7, 1949, North Field on Guam was renamed Andersen Air Force Base (Andersen AFB) in his honor.
U. S. Air Force (USAF) James Roy Andersen (photo)
Missing AIr Crew Report 12769 (MACR 12769) created March 4, 1945
Pacific Wrecks - C-87A Liberator Express 41-24174
American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) - James R. Andersen
FindAGrave - BG James Roy Andersen (courts of the missing photo)
BG James Roy Andersen (Brunswick Memorial Park memorial photo)
FindAGrave - BG James Roy Andersen (Arlington National Cemetery memorial marker photo)
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) - James R. Andersen (memorial marker photo)