About Admiral George W. Anderson, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations
George Whelan Anderson, Jr. (December 15, 1906 – March 20, 1992) was an Admiral in the United States Navy. He served as the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) between 1961 and 1963, and was in charge of the U.S. blockade of Cuba during the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
Early life and career
A native of Brooklyn, New York, George Whelan Anderson, Jr. entered the United States Naval Academy in 1927 and graduated with the class of 1930. After graduation he became a Naval Aviator and served on cruisers and aircraft carriers, including the USS Cincinnati.
In World War II he served as the navigator on the fourth USS Yorktown. After the war he served as the Commanding Officer of the escort carrier USS Mindoro and of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt. He also served tours as an assistant to General Dwight D. Eisenhower at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, special assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Radford and as Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief Pacific.
As a flag officer he commanded Task Force 77 between Taiwan and mainland China, Carrier Div 6 in the Mediterranean during the 1958 Lebanon landing and as a vice admiral, commanded the United States Sixth Fleet.
As Chief of Naval Operations in charge of the United States' quarantine of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Admiral Anderson distinguished himself in the Navy's conduct of those operations; Time magazine featured him on the cover and called him "an aggressive blue-water sailor of unfaltering competence and uncommon flair." He had, however, a contentious relationship with Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, who viewed Anderson's behavior as mutinous. McNamara sabotaged his 36-year Navy career, and cut his service as Chief of Naval Operations short in 1963. Many had believed Anderson's next appointment would have been to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Other public service and post-Navy career
After early retirement due to conflict with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara during the Cuban missile crisis, President John F. Kennedy appointed Admiral Anderson Ambassador to Portugal, where he served for three years and encouraged plans for the peaceful transition of Portugal's African colonies to independence. He later returned to Government service from 1973 to 1977 as member and later chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.
After his retirement from the Navy, he was chairman of Lamar Corporation, an outdoor advertising company, and was a director on the boards of Value Line, National Airlines and Crown Seal and Cork.
Family and last years
His first wife, Muriel Buttling, died in 1947. His two sons, George W. Anderson III and Thomas Patrick Anderson (who flew more than 200 combat missions in Vietnam) are also deceased.
Admiral Anderson died March 20, 1992 of congestive heart failure at the age of 85. He was survived by his second wife of 44 years, the former Mary Lee Sample; a daughter, a stepdaughter, 12 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren. He was buried on March 23, 1992 in Section 1 of Arlington National Cemetery.