Tag Archives: Veteran’s Day

Veterans in the Family–William J. Anderson

Seabee William J. Anderson

I have listed all the veterans in my family as I find them.  Please pay tribute to them here. (You will also find the names of the people in the family picture below by clicking on that link.) However, I must admit, I have many more veterans to add that I have discovered the in the past year. Those include Charles Morgan, son of my great-great grandfather and his first wife, who fought in the Civil War for the North.

Now I would like to focus on one particular World War II veteran, now deceased, my uncle William J. Anderson.

Bill and Sarah Anderson 1942 or 1943

Bill and Sarah Anderson, August 1943 in Killbuck, Ohio

World War II Family 1942 or 1943

World War II Family August 1943 gathered in Killbuck Ohio home of Guy and Vera Anderson. William J. Anderson is seated on the right hand side in his Navy blues.


Uncle Bill served in the United States Navy as a “SeaBee”–C.B., Construction Battalion, in the islands of the South Pacific roughly between 1943 and 1946. In 1942 or 1943 he and other relatives gathered at the home of my Grandmother and Grandfather Vera and Guy Anderson in Killbuck, Ohio. He was probably at the end of his initial training period and would be shipped out to the Pacific in December 1943.

William J. Anderson Change of Address Card

Not only does this give me some interesting information about Uncle Bill, but it also highlights when my own family moved from Ames Iowa to Chicago Illinois during the war.

As for William J. Anderson, we learn that in December 1943,  he is with the 12th Specialists Battalion,  Company B-2. He holds the rank of EM 3/C, and his ship is in the Pacific–fleet post office San Francisco.  What does all that mean?

For one thing, it means that the nagging question I had as a five- and six-year-old was finally going to be answered.  We never knew where my uncles and cousin were in the Pacific. Once one of them sent us a souvenir book with pictures and maps showing Pacific islands, and I was convinced (having read too many Bobsey Twins mysteries) that they were sending us a secret code through the book to tell us where they were. I puzzled over it throughout the war, but never learned their locations.

Part way through the war, the Navy created Special Construction Battalions (also called Seabee Specials) for stevedores and longshoremen who unloaded ships in battle zones.  According to a history of the Seabees, the 12th Specialists were trained initially at Camp Peary in Virginia for three weeks and then in Port Hueme in California for six weeks before being shipped out in 1943, arriving in January 1944 at the Russell Islands in the Pacific. After unloading ships in the Russels for sixteen months, the 12th Spec. Battalion left its base and arrived in Okinawa on May 21, 1945. [Okinawa

Seabees emblem.

Seabees emblem.

William J. Anderson Dog Tag

I recently found Uncle Bill’s dog tags, and then saw this picture of him wearing the dog tag as he stood on a tropical island.

I have not been able to find what the meaning is of the serial number. If you know how to decode Navy serial numbers, please let me know.  If you are looking to decode an army serial number, Amy Johnson Crow comes to the rescue here.   However, I did learn that the “O” is for blood type, and the T 6/43 means he got a tetanus shot in June, 1943. I am not sure why he is USNR (Navy Reserve).

History of the 12th Special Battalion

Uncle Bill’s cheerful demeanor hints that this was probably the first post in the Russels, because the next post was not a piece of cake. Okinawa saw the most ferocious fighting in the Pacific, and the 12th was still there when the Japanese surrendered  in August 1945. [See a later post with a letter he writes from the Solomon Islands.]

From Wikipedia: “Between the American landing on 1 April and 25 May, seven major kamikaze attacks were attempted, involving more than 1,500 planes.”

The Seabees arrived at a most unwelcoming time of year, as Wikipedia graphically describes.

“By the end of May, monsoon rains which turned contested hills and roads into a morass exacerbated both the tactical and medical situations. The ground advance began to resemble a World War I battlefield as troops became mired in mud and flooded roads greatly inhibited evacuation of wounded to the rear. Troops lived on a field sodden by rain, part garbage dump and part graveyard. Unburied Japanese and American bodies decayed, sank in the mud, and became part of a noxious stew. Anyone sliding down the greasy slopes could easily find their pockets full of maggots at the end of the journey

You can see a film of the battle of Okinawa at the History website.

It is probably just as well that we did not know he was on Okinawa. We worried enough just listening to the radio news of the war, and seeing the newsreels that followed the features at the movie theater and reading screaming headlines. Had we known he was on Okinawa during that horrible battle, I don’t know how we would have coped. For that matter, I don’t know how HE coped, but he seemed to come through just fine.

William J. Anderson Life Details

The Rank on the change of Address card is EM 3/C, which means Electrician’s Mate, third Class.  While I know that Uncle Bill was proficient at fixing electrical things after the war, he was also handy at a great many chores.  His stories of the war, on a par with the tales in Catch 22,  indicated that he spent more time making deals with incoming ships to get good whiskey and special food for his commanding officer than working on wiring. But the Navy does not have a ranking for Finagling Deal Maker.

William J. Anderson would have been thirty-eight years old when he shipped off to a Pacific Island. That seems old for a warrior, but I read in a history of the Seabees that the average enlisted age of those construction battalion workers was thirty-seven. They were paid $140 a month, which made them one of the highest paid groups in the military.

Military life was not entirely foreign to Uncle Bill, as I described in this story about him in post-WWI civilian camp.

My other uncle, Herbert Anderson, was also a Seabee, as was my cousin, Robert Anderson.

They all came home safe after World War II, although Robert Anderson stayed in the Navy as a career.

I thank them all for their enormous contribution to our Nation during World War II.


How I am Related

Vera Marie Kaser Badertscher is the daughter of

Harriette Anderson Kaser, who is the sister of

William J. Anderson

Veteran’s Day Tribute to Family Veterans

This is a story of men at war. I glance at a handy list of the dates of American wars and the birthdates of (until recently only) men who might have taken part in those wars. The overwhelming fact driven home by this list is–too many wars.

World War II Family 1942

World War II Family 1942

Last year on Pearl Harbor Day, I wrote a little about our family’s World War II veterans, and how rationing affected the home folk. You can read about the World War II effects on family here.

I have started a running list of ancestors who were veterans of various wars in our country’s history. Almost all survived. The list continues to grow, but here are some of my ancestor/veterans I have discovered so far, with birth date, place they enlisted, and relationship to me. If you know of some information I have missed, please tell me in the comments below.

Indian Wars Monument

Marker in honor of settlers and veterans of Indian Wars, Sudbury Cemetery

Veterans of New England Indian Wars

  • Major Peter Bulkely (b. 1642) Concord [8th great grandfather]
  • Capt. Joseph Bulkely (b. 1670) Concord [7th great grandfather]
  • Captain Joseph Hubbard (b. 1689) Concord,  [6th great grandfather]
  • David Stone (b. 1646) 1675, Great Swamp Fight, Framingham) [paternal grandfather of wife of 5th great-grand uncle–Ezekial Howe of Howe’s Tavern.]


John Howe Jr. (b.1640) Sudbury, Killed in battle at age 36 [7th great grand uncle]

 Veterans of American Revolution


This is a photograph of the statue representing Captain John Parker sculpted by Henry Hudson Kitson and erected in 1900. This statue in Lexington, Massachusetts is commonly called “The Lexington Minuteman” Photo from Wikipedia

  • Lt. Samuel Stone Jr. (b. 1748) Died 1775, Buried in Rutland MA Cemetery.[1st cousin 6 x removed.]
  • Ezekial Howe, (b. 1720) Lt. Col in MInutemen 1775, Col. of Regiment 1776-June 1779. Led Sudbury troops to Concord Bridge April 19, 1775. [5th great-grand uncle.]
  • Ezekial Howe, Jr., Minutemen. (b. 1756)  Ran 16 miles from Sudbury to Concord on the sounding of the alarm April 19, 1775. [1st cousin 6 X removed.]
  • Jeduthan Stone, (b. 1748) Minuteman, Pvt. in Militia from Rutland MA, Fought at Concord [4th great grandfather]
  • Note: Father John Fife Sr. and sons William and John Jr. all served.
  • John Fife Sr.,(b. 1721) Pvt. 4th C., 2nd Battalion in Washington County PA militia. [5th Great Grandfather]
  • William Fife (b. 1751) 12th Virginia Regiment 1777-1778, Captain in 4th Co., 2nd Battalion. Washington County PA Militia 1782. [4th Great granduncle]
  • John Fife Jr.,( b. 1756) Enlisted in Washington County, PA militia. Capt, 4th C. 2nd Battalion. [4th great grandfather]
  • Samuel Bassett,(b. 1754) Fifer, enlisted at Keene New Hampshire, slightly wounded at Battle of Bunker Hill [4th great grandfather]
  • Note: Brothers Israel, Benjamin and Stephen Barrett Jr. all served.
  • Israel Barrett (b. 1757) Enlisted in 1775 and second time in 1781. Served as Private under Col. Tupper, then in Nixon’s regiment. Taken prisoner and held in Quebec for about nine months. [4th great-grand uncle, step-son of Elizabeth Hubbard Howe Barrett]
  • Stephen Barrett, Jr. (b. 1753)  [4th great-grand uncle, step-son of Elizabeth Hubbard Howe Barrett.]
  • Benjamin Barrett (b. 1759 ) [4th great-grand uncle, step-son of Elizabeth Hubbard Howe Barrett]

Veteran of War of 1812

1812 Grave Marker

William Cochran Grave with War of 1812 Marker, Stout Family Cemetery, Guernsey Co.,Ohio

William Cochran [b. 1793]Enlisted in Ohio. Served six months in 1812 and one year from November 1813 to November 1814. [3rd Great Grandfather]

Veterans of Spanish American War (1898)

Although there is a Spanish American War medallion in the Stout family graveyard in Guernsey County, Ohio, it is not clear to whom it belongs.

Veterans of Civil War

  • William McCabe Anderson (b. 1841) Enlisted in Ohio, September, 1861. Discharged October 1864. Served in Co. B, 16th Regiment, Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  Was held captive for part of his service, but not in Andersonville as speculated in his obituary. [Great Grand Uncle, brother of Isabella McCabe Anderson.]
  • Benjamin Franklin Stone (b. 1782 ) Enlisted in Rutland MA in  1872 and reenlisted in 1873. Advanced from Pvt. of Company C, 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry to Adj. General of the 11th Army Corps.  Fought at Manassas, Gettysburg, Lookout Mountain and was part of Sherman’s March to the Sea. [1st cousin 5x removed.]
  • Henry Allen Butts

    Great Grandfather Henry Allen Butts

  • Henry Allen Butts (b. 1835) Pvt. Enlisted twice, and was part of Sherman’s march to the sea. [Great grandfather , grandfather of my father]


Erasmus Anderson (b.1830) Pvt. in Company E, 16th Regiment of Ohio Volunteer Infantry, enlisted in 1871. Killed in battle at VIcksburg in 1872.  Read the series telling his story here. [Great grand-uncle, Uncle of my maternal grandfather, Guy Anderson]

Veteran of World War I

Earl Fair

Earl Fair

Kenneth Earl Fair (B. 1898 ) From Ohio. [Uncle. Married to my mother’s step-sister.]

Veterans of World War II

World War II

Herbert and Bill Anderson and Frank Fair

  •  Herbert Guy Anderson From Ohio. Member of Navy Construction Battalion–SeaBees. Pacific Theater. [Uncle, mother’s brother]
  • William J. Anderson  From Ohio. Member of Navy Construction Battalion–SeaBees. Pacific Theater. [Uncle, mother’s brother]
  • Robert Anderson ,From Ohio. Navy–Pacific Theater [Cousin, son of William J. Anderson]
  • Frank Fair, From Ohio Army Air Force Fighter pilot in Europe. [Cousin, son of Rhema Anderson Fair]

Veteran of Vietnam

Brother, Paul Kaser, Vietnam Veteran

A visit from a Vietnam AF officer, Paul Kaser Scottsdale, circa 1966

Paul W. Kaser, From Ohio. Air Force Lt.  stationed at Bien Hoa in Vietnam [Brother]

Veteran of Cold War

Kenneth Paul Badertscher, From Arizona Navy, nuclear submarine. [Son]

Veterans of Iraq War

  • David Kaser, From California. Marine [Nephew]
  • Kenneth Paul Badertscher II, From Arizona. AirForce [Grandson]

 *Family members in picture

Top Row: Pauline McDowell Anderson, Herbert G. Anderson, Vera Stout Anderson, Frank Fair, Ruth Fair, Rhema Anderson Fair, Kenneth Earl Fair, Sarah Warner Anderson

Second Row: Dick Fair, Harriette Anderson Kaser, Leonard Guy Anderson, Paul Kaser, William J. Anderson

Bottom Row: Vera Marie (Bunny) Kaser, Joann Anderson, James (Jimmy) Anderson, Romona Anderson, Larry Anderson.

Picture was taken on the lawn of Vera and Guy Anderson’s home in Killbuck, Ohio.