Anderson, David L. (771st)

David L. Anderson 1David L. Anderson

Biography:  David “Dave” L. Anderson was born on July 19, 1924, in Detroit, Michigan. He was the son of Fred Anderson and Mabel Gurrin and graduated from Northeastern High School in Detroit. His enlistment record lists his occupation as bookkeeper or cashier.

Service Time: Dave entered the service on July 22, 1942, at Detroit. He was assigned to Company A of the 771st Tank Destroyer Battalion, which shipped out from the New York port on October 21, 1943. They arrived at Liverpool, England, on November 2, 1943, and were initially chosen to train other TD personnel in the ETO Troop Replacement system.

Company A would move out and act as an advanced unit to ship to France in late August. The rest of the battalion would ship out to France on September 15th, equipped with M10s. They entered combat with the 102nd Infantry Division against the Siegfried Line defenses along the Würm River on November 3rd. They participated in the drive to the Roer River and held defensive positions there during December.

The unit converted to the M36 in January, 1945, and supported the drive toward the Rhine River in February. They crossed the Rhine beginning on March 31st and joined the 102nd’s drive across Germany to the Elbe River. In the beginning of April, Company A moved to Greven, Germany, and then toward Ostbevern but they were halted by gun fire from the town and nearby woods. On April 2nd and 3rd, they assaulted the town in support of the 36th Cavalry Squadron, establishing road blocks and a Command Post.

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On April 4th, approximately 200 German foot troops and 6 self-propelled guns attempted a break-thru from the North and West. Allied fire was withheld because they were expecting supply trains from Greven and they were unable to make a positive identification. The enemy began firing and one M36 was destroyed by shots coming from a wooded area near Lehrhbrock and Westbevern. TD Commander Sgt. David L. Anderson was standing near his TD when it was hit by a bazooka round. He was hit by shrapnel but managed to mount his TD to direct fire while he also fired his rifle and threw grenades at the enemy, which by this point had surrounded their position. He received the Silver Star for his actions.

Silver Star – Citation

The unit reached the Elbe on April 14th and spent the remainder of the war helping to mop up bypassed pockets of resistance between the Rhine and Elbe. In addition to the Silver Star, he also received the Purple Heart. He left the service at the rank of Sergeant.

Dave returned to the U.S. and furthered his education allowing him to later work for Kelvinator as a Design Engineer. He married Irene and the couple had a son, John and, two daughters, Lucy and Sandra. The family was living in the Lansing, Michigan area. Their marriage ended and on November 25, 1953, he married the former Geraldine Kent. She was the daughter of Harold Kent and Violet Crkal and was born in Detroit. The new couple had two children, Kathy, born in 1955, and Michael in 1956. The family lived in the Livonia, Michigan area. In his spare time, Dave enjoyed weekend home projects and was a Master Mason in the Detroit area.

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In 1969, they moved to Chapin, South Carolina. Dave passed away in August 1, 1988, and was cremated.

Dave’s military legacy in continued by his grandson, Neal, who is currently serving in the Army and served one tour in Afghanistan. I want to thank Dave’s son, Mike, for providing the information and materials for this tribute.