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Orvil A. Anderson
Nickname "Andy"
Born (1895-05-02)May 2, 1895
Died August 22, 1965(1965-08-22) (aged 70)
Place of birth Springville, Utah
Place of death Montgomery, Alabama
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States
Service/branch  United States Air Force
United States Army Air Forces
United States Army Air Corps
United States Army Air Service
Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps
Years of service 1917–1950
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General

Major General Orvil Arson Anderson (May 2, 1895 - August 24, 1965) was a pioneer balloonist. In 1935 he and Albert William Stevens won the Mackay Trophy when they set a record of 72,395 feet in their balloon Explorer II.[1]


Born Orvil Orson Anderson, on May 2, 1895 in Springville, Utah. An Army clerical error changed it to Orvil Arson Anderson when he joined the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps in August 1917. In 1935 he and Albert William Stevens won the Mackay Trophy, the Harmon Trophy and the National Geographic Society Hubbard Medal[2][3] when they set a record of 72,395 feet in their balloon Explorer II.[1] He died on August 22, 1965 of lung cancer at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama.[4]

Korean War[]

In 1950 Anderson was the Commandant of the USAF's Air War College. He was one of many Americans frustrated by the limitations placed upon American conduct of the Korean War. It was no secret that the North Koreans were acting on behalf of their sponsor, the Soviet Union, but as the Truman administration did not want the war to expand into a global conflict, fighting was limited to the Korean peninsula. When, in September, Anderson told a newspaper interviewer, “Give me the order to do it and I can break up Russia’s five A-bomb nests in a week! And when I went up to Christ, I think I could explain to him why I wanted to do it—now—before it is too late. I think I could explain to him that had saved civilization,” the president suspended him. He retired shortly thereafter.[citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Gondola Steamed 73,000 Feet In Air. Captains Stevens and Anderson, Arriving in Chicago, Say They Were Mystified. Stratosphere Balloonists, With Capt. Williams, Ground Officer, Will Reach Capital Today". November 13, 1935. Retrieved 2011-05-26. "Captain Orvil A. Anderson and Captain Albert W. Stevens declared here today that they are willing to take another trip into the stratosphere at any time, and are confident that on the next endeavor they will surpass their record fourteen-mile ascent." 
  2. First High-Altitude Photo
  3. National Geographic Society Hubbard Medal, Captain Orvil Anderson
  4. "General Anderson of Air War School. High-Altitude Balloonist Dies". August 25, 1965. Retrieved 2011-05-26. "Orvil Anderson died at Maxwell Air Force Base Hospital Monday after an extended illness. He was 70 years old. General Anderson, a former commandant of ..." 

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