Comments: 715 • Responses: 51  • Date: 

diddyd_1229 karma

How accurate are the recreation war movies today (Unbroken etc...)? & Do you care if someone "thanks you for your service" or not?

MajRichardAnderson980 karma

"I wouldn't know about newer ones, I went blind in 1998 when I saw how ugly you (talking about me) were as a baby" "No, I've never minded if someone thanks me or not"

falalalacy28 karma

That was the best reply to a question that I have ever read. That made my day.

Would you ever consider collaborating with your great grandson on writing an autobiography? I would love to read it one day.

MajRichardAnderson30 karma

"No, I think I'd be tempted to brag a little"

thehistorymajor154 karma

Thank you for your service, and welcome to Reddit! Do you see similarities in the way today's and WW2 era politicians handle foreign conflicts or is it a completely different ballpark?

MajRichardAnderson238 karma

"Quite a bit different, they don't seem to reason it, like we used to"

Navy14146 karma

Did you ever fly in any mass air raids? What was the feeling knowing you were a sight of relief to ground troops seeing you fly above?

MajRichardAnderson261 karma

"I always felt good while flying over the friendly troops, we couldn't always see them because we were up so high, but when we did see them waving at us it felt great"

spiel_suchen121 karma

How did you deal with the fear and anxiety of flying combat missions? Do you have any advice for those considering military service in the present day? Thank you for your service and for doing this AMA.

MajRichardAnderson201 karma

"I can't speak for the crew except as a whole, we tried to remain, not happy but, feeling that we were, I know every time we went into combat I'd think about what those boys were thinking when they attacked us, did they really believe that we were actually the enemy, I know we were the 'enemy' but only because they made us that, its hard to put your feelings in words" "I can't really give advice for joining the military, a lot has changed since I was in. I think the best thing to say here is just do your best in whatever branch you join"

aerial1981116 karma

I have a view of Pearl Harbor where I live!


What does he think of today's military being an all volunteer force?

MajRichardAnderson186 karma

I wish he could see that because that's beautiful.

"I think that's great, it should be. You end up with a better soldier if he volunteers rather than if he's drafted."

ipunchedamonkey91 karma

Thanks for your service! I just wanted to ask if you ever harbor any irrational hatred or ill feelings towards those nations you fought against? My great grandfather hated the Germans until the day he died at 102.

MajRichardAnderson584 karma

"No, its been a long time. I wasn't at war with Germans, I was at war with the Nazi's"

Flagrante84 karma

Were you on a ship at Pearl Harbor? What was your experience that day?

MajRichardAnderson232 karma

"I was at Hickham air field" I don't need a quote about his experience, I've heard that story many times, its a pretty long story so bear with me here. First thing is that the story starts with his childhood in Michigan. His best friend for his life in Michigan was Eugene Whitcomb. Along rolls 1940 and Eugene joins the Navy. Well time passes and Richard is stationed at Hickham and the Arizona makes port at Pearl Harbor. Eugene and Richard go to see a movie and catch up, they see " A yank in the RAF" after the movie they sit on a bench and talk for a bit, then Eugene says "I left in a storm with my parents, And I need you to tell them I'm sorry." Richard responded with "What for, tell them yourself" Eugene let him know that "You're strong, you'll survive a war, I won't" Richard told him that he was wrong, and their night went on. (I was told by Richard that he was actually going to bunk on the Arizona that night but was called to a last minute bunk check.) He woke up to what he believed was a petroleum tank that just accidentally exploded. So he was about to go back to sleep when the planes and gunfire erupted. He ran outside without getting dressed and sat in a bush, watching. He said it was only 2 minutes but it felt like days. He ran back inside and got dressed and ran to his hanger, on the way there he ran through a mess hall, people were crowding into the freezer and as he made it out of the mess hall, a bomb hit the freezer. He got to his hanger and took a .45 and just shot at the planes "We knew it wouldn't make a difference, but it helped us mentally" there was a fighter plane trying to get airborne that got destroyed and Richard stepped on a magnesium flare that burned through his boot while pulling the pilot out of the cockpit. After the attack he went to the med bay to get treatment for his foot, but he just took ointment and left after seeing the rest of the people that were there. After not seeing Eugene among the wounded, he knew what happened.

Dittybopper76 karma

My hat is off to your great grandfather and to you for aiding him in doing an IAMA. Two questions please: Where was he stationed, his post, during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Was the B24 a difficult aircraft to fly? Did it have any quirks that would get you killed if you didn't account for them?

MajRichardAnderson102 karma

He was at Hickham Air Field with the Army Air Corps when the attack started. "I never found anything real difficult about them, I enjoyed it" I know that he did lose a crew member in a crash once, the Sergeant was running through the open bombbay to warn the tail crew to brace for impact and they never found him.

DivinusVox72 karma

What was your proudest moment in your time flying?

MajRichardAnderson163 karma

"It was when we got shot down, because we all managed to keep our heads and all survived, all but one"

nickyc340 karma

Can you tell us more about getting shot down? Was it flak or German fighters? Did you make it back to friendly territory before bailing or crash landing?

MajRichardAnderson70 karma

"It was 88 Flak" I have a website that has that story on it, I'll find it and copy paste it here.

EDIT: http://www.450thbg.com/real/html/crew.shtml

snackcake17 karma

So, you spent time in a POW camp?

MajRichardAnderson55 karma

"No, we managed to get into allied territory before we crashed in a vineyard.

joyfullyjess55 karma

Thank you for your service. How do you feel about current conflicts. Should we proceed into war or hold back?

MajRichardAnderson122 karma

"Well I'm not happy with them, I don't think anybody is. There's way to many veterans sludging over toward ISIS, I can't understand that. Staying back could be good for now" "What bothers me is veterans joining the other side, going over to ISIS and such. It used to be a veteran stayed loyal to their country and their beliefs, it seems that's not so true anymore and that's what really bothers me."

KingsMountain58 karma

Wait...US Military joining ISIS??? Is this a thing?

MajRichardAnderson47 karma

He may be referring to cartels and just US citizens joining ISIS. But he listens to A LOT of news, so if it is going on he'd probably know.

viners7 karma

Is there ever a point where you wouldn't have remained "loyal"? Are some orders too harsh to follow, or would you have done anything you were asked to by your leaders?

MajRichardAnderson17 karma

"No, I always figured I was to much of a coward to refuse a direct order" "I was more afraid of my superiors than the enemy"

Joevahskank50 karma

Bunch of questions, please bear with me

  • How were you feeling at the beginning of each year of the war?
  • Did you ever think that something like what happened on Dec. 7th would happen or could happen again?
  • When you were flying over Europe, how did you feel both before and after the mission?
  • Out of all the allies over there, who did you like the most?
  • - Who would you rather fight/fly alongside with?
  • Was your cargo only limited to bombs or did you drop men as well?
  • Can you share a story with us about one of the funniest or scariest moments during your tour?

MajRichardAnderson99 karma

"Like it was never gonna end, we always felt that the new year would bring new feelings that would end the war"

"I flew once every 2-3 weeks for the most part in '41 and '42, occasionally throughout the rest of the war"

"The English were my favorite, and I would've flown with them any day, thick or thin they stuck with us"

"Just ordnance, I never did drop airborne"

"When you watched a plane go down that you shot down, it wasn't necessarily funny, but it brought on cheers"

I_want_GTA5_on_PC105 karma

How were you feeling at the beginning of each year of the war?

"Like it was never gonna end, we always felt that the new year would bring new feelings that would end the war"

When you were flying over Europe, how did you feel both before and after the mission?

"I flew once every 2-3 weeks for the most part in '41 and '42, occasionally throughout the rest of the war"

Out of all the allies over there, who did you like the most?

"The English were my favorite, and I would've flown with them any day, thick or thin they stuck with us"

Was your cargo only limited to bombs or did you drop men as well?

"Just ordnance, I never did drop airborne"

Can you share a story with us about one of the funniest or scariest moments during your tour?

"When you watched a plane go down that you shot down, it wasn't necessarily funny, but it brought on cheers"

MajRichardAnderson29 karma

Thank you for the formatting! I'm on mobile so its difficult.

oak_in_shield47 karma

I feel like WW2 has been so hollywooded-up. How do you feel about that?

MajRichardAnderson112 karma

"I think its fine, I don't want people to forget it, that's a good way of reminding people. It had both good and bad moments, letting those be recreated is good"

xolotl9235 karma

First off, thank you very much for serving, I love talking to my wife's grandfather who served in a Sherman in the European.

My question, with every thing ugly that happens during war, I've always heard about the happy times with squad mates and other soldiers (or airmen in your case) what was you fondest memory during your time?

MajRichardAnderson80 karma

"When the war ended"

TurtleClubMember35 karma

First off, thank him for his service for me.

Second, which position in the b24 did he occupy?

MajRichardAnderson74 karma

"I was a Co-Pilot and then later a Pilot"

wtfunchu33 karma

Wow, this is simply amazing. A big thanks to your great grandpaps for doing this.

Dear sir, how good were your flying skills? Had you been the best of the best?

MajRichardAnderson73 karma

"I guess average, nothing great, but I loved what I did, and that's 90% of the battle"

bullshit-careers29 karma

What did you think of Douglas MacArthur?

MajRichardAnderson47 karma

"Well, I never gave him a lot of thought. I thought he was a pretty good officer, but I know a lot of people didn't agree with him"

Chocolate_fly29 karma

Thank you for your service.

I live on Oahu, and recently visited the Pearl harbor memorial for the first time. What did you do for fun while you were stationed here, before the Pearl harbor attack? What was the island like back then?

MajRichardAnderson63 karma

"The island was wonderful, we would go swimming, go to the waikeykey (I don't know how to spell it) theater, chase girls."

yotorogo28 karma

What was the moment when it finally hit you that you were being shipped off to war and that you may not come back?

MajRichardAnderson82 karma

"Well after my friend died at pearl harbor, I wanted to go to war. I wanted to fight the Japanese"

RedditClasher21 karma

Thank you ever so much for your service. My question is, how hard was it to reintegrate into society after you came back? Thanks again :)

MajRichardAnderson43 karma

"It wasn't really hard, I was so glad to come back. I had seen so many of my friends that didn't get to come back that I felt I was so lucky"

jacquesfu17 karma

What was the lesson you learned overseas that you most wanted your children to know?

MajRichardAnderson48 karma

"Don't take life for granted"

tallandlanky15 karma

Why were you switched from the Pacific Theatre of Operations to the European Theatre of Operations? The 'Europe First' policy?

MajRichardAnderson29 karma

"I went to the pacific, then came back to the states for school, then back to the pacific, then the biggest need was Europe so I got sent there"

stephenjash14 karma

Thank you for your service sir. I am a veteran of the Afghanistan war myself. I was curious, what advice would you have for young veterans like myself? Is there anything you would like to say to young veterans?

MajRichardAnderson29 karma

"Each man has to follow his own conscious, I know a lot of them regret killing , I never wanted to kill people, it was a necessary evil, I said a lot of prayers to ask for forgiveness for it. Thank you for your service"

usedCloake12 karma

First off, thank you for you service. This is a truly amazing opportunity. I too am a veteran and I was stationed in Pearl Harbor also. I know it would be truly impossible to explain Dec. 7 to us. Have you been back to Pearl Harbor since? If you have, how many times? Also where were you based out of in Europe and have you been back since?

Sorry fat fingers iphone app.

MajRichardAnderson21 karma

" I went back to pearl harbor a few times, the same with Europe, quite a few times." "Thank you for your service as well"

dirty_lenny11 karma

Do you agree with the reasoning that the atomic bombs dropped on Japan were necessary? How do you justify the attack, if at all?

MajRichardAnderson24 karma

"I don't like that it was used, I think it saved american lives though."

BewitchingBard11 karma

I love the nose art on WWII planes. Who got to name the plane? The captain or did the whole crew have to agree?

MajRichardAnderson75 karma

"The whole crew voted on the name" his plane was the Miss Carriage.

benebenz9 karma

Thank you for doing this

How many missions did you fly in those B24?

MajRichardAnderson15 karma

"Probably about 20, maybe a few more"

snoopypoo9 karma

Do you miss flying your aircraft?

MajRichardAnderson38 karma

"No, not really. I lost to many good friends in them"

robmox8 karma

Is it hard to walk with those cold, hard balls of steel? Go Navy!

MajRichardAnderson27 karma

The joke went over his head, but he does use a walker so I'd guess.

Geronimo_Roeder7 karma

Ah finally I'am in time for an intersting AmA.

I'am a huge history buff and have 2 questions since I want to keep it short.

  • Was your plane ever shot at? If it it was, how did you feel in that situation?

  • Wich was the most frightening enemy plane?

I also want to thank you (and other pilots) for entlisting and helping to stop our country. You guys truly helped saving europe,

Greetings from Germany

MajRichardAnderson3 karma

"We were shot down once by 88 fire. As for being shot at, it was uncomfortable, a bit scary."

"I'm not sure what the scariest plane I ever faced was, learning that they had jets was scary though"

Sgt_14tjyd7 karma

What was life like back in the 40s? What was your favorite source of entertainment? Your hobbies? :)

MajRichardAnderson5 karma

"Chasing the girls was always fun, never really had hobbies"

Dickdude90007 karma

Does he regret being in the force ?

MajRichardAnderson18 karma

"Not at all, I'd do it over again"

Budnacho6 karma

Hello Sir!....Thank you for your service!

I have heard of the rivalry between the B-17 and B-24 Pilots over which was the "better" plane. What, in your opinion were the best/worst features about these aircraft that not many of us heard about?

Also, were you one of the B-24 Pilots who flew on the initial Ploesti missions?...if so, can you share a story (or even if you didnt) about your service?

Thank you again for your contributions!

MajRichardAnderson8 karma

"Well the B17 was a pleasurable flying plane, easy to just let fly, but the B24 you always had to make corrections in air, we had auto pilots but we never really trusted em"

"I'm honestly not sure, I think I made the original run but it was so long ago."

A5adAwan5 karma

What was it like to be there? During pearl Harbor attack?

MajRichardAnderson8 karma

"Its something that I can't begin to express with words. It was scary"

tdubasdfg4 karma

I have a two part question:

What was your greatest lesson learned in life and what advice do you have for a young 21 year old not sure of what to make of his life?

MajRichardAnderson8 karma

"Because of the war, I don't take my life for granted, you have to earn everything you get." "Reevaluate and find what makes you happy, what's fun"

atlantis764 karma

One question from Israel: how did you feel after the war as the U.S.and Japan became a very close and cooperating countries? Thanks a lot.

MajRichardAnderson3 karma

"I was funny, but I never really trusted them afterwords while others did"

6_million_dollar_man3 karma

Sir, if I recall my history correctly, bomber duty in the European theater was one of the most dangerous flight assignments in WWII. Did you all have a sense back then that what you were doing was inherently more dangerous than other flying assignments? How did you deal with that?

MajRichardAnderson3 karma

"Well we always figured the pacific was more dangerous, you were flying over water for most of the time, if you had engine trouble or got shot down the water is what would kill ya"

iamtheaustin3 karma

The "yalls" was proof enough for me.

MajRichardAnderson26 karma

I am but a humble Texan.

Phugu3 karma

What were your thoughts during bombing runs, especially during the moment the bombs were dropped over the targets?
It's hard for me to form a question without sounding rude, did you see the people you dropped the bombs on as enemies, even if they were civilians?
I am a german and while I am more than aware about the war crimes the nazis commited, I also know about the bombings that destroyed many cities. My grandma had nightmares about the bombings till her death, and when she became senile she acted like it was war again and tried to bring me into the cellar to be safe, because "Die Flieger kommen und werfen Bomben, die Flieger kommen! Bringt die Kinder in Sicherheit." (The planes are coming and they drop bombs, the planes are coming, protect the children.).

I really don't want to say that you did sth wrong or are a bad person, on the contrary, without you and the other allied soldiers it would have been impossible to bring the nazies to a halt.

MajRichardAnderson2 karma

Let me start with saying that that's pretty sad. He never regretted dropping the bombs, but he prayed a lot for forgiveness.

starknolonger2 karma

How old were you during Pearl Harbor, and how long had you been serving? Where are you originally from? Lastly, what was the best memory you have from wartime, or do you have any particularly good stories?

MajRichardAnderson8 karma

"I was 19 at pearl harbor, I enlisted at 17. I was born in Homer Michigan, I don't really have any good stories so to speak." I posted his Pearl Harbor story in response to an earlier question

akaDestiny2 karma

Thank you for doing this! Was your aircraft ever hit? If so, can you share that story with us?

MajRichardAnderson5 karma

He was shot down by 88 fire, I'm scouring the internet for the story, its fully written somewhere.

EDIT: The crew was on board for their sixth mission.  All went well until just after bombs away, when an 88mm anti-aircraft round hit Miss Carriage just forward of the bomb bay.  It destroyed the auxiliary power unit and the central electrical panel, causing the loss of all electrical power including radio and intercom.  It took awhile to sort things out, but no one was hurt and all four engines continued to run smoothly; its a good thing they did because we could not have feathered a prop without power.  Unfortunately the props were stuck at 2500 RPM, which was standard procedure on a bomb run, in case of the loss of an engine and the need to add power to the remaining engines quickly to stay in formation.  Jack Browne and Oscar Barbee, the 1st and 2nd Engineers worked frantically trying to get the electrical system patched up to get a little juice, but were unsuccessful. 

We stayed in formation for the three hour return to Manduria, but were using an awful lot of fuel because of the high engine RPM.  The fuel gauges on the B-24 were notoriously inaccurate and hard to read, but Jack Browne told me he thought we had a least a couple of hundred gallons left.  We made a wide circle to the west to try for spacing between landing aircraft and prepared a flare to indicate no radio.  It was then the engines stared to surge and cut out because of fuel starvation.  We were on a long approach at about 2000 feet.  I yelled over my shoulder to get set as we were going in.  There was nothing to do but line up between two rows of olive trees and put it down. 

After we stopped and counted noses, we found that Oscar Barbee was missing. They told me that he had rushed through the bomb bay to tell those in back to get strapped in.  He would have been OK if he had stayed with them, but he started back to the flight deck, and was on the catwalk in the bomb bay when Miss Carriage hit.  Oscar was the only casualty on our crew in the 50 mission tour.  He gave his life because of concern for his fellow crew members.

MakesPensDance1 karma

Thank you for your service, and thanks for doing this!

What was the most major action you participated in?

And what was something most people wouldn't know about it, or being a pilot at the time in general?

MajRichardAnderson4 karma

"Ploesty was the biggest thing I did"

"I can't really say"