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The Carthage Press
  • Carthage native U.S. Navy vet tells of life

  • After working a lifetime and serving his country, Bill Anderson has some scars – those scars tell stories and speak volumes for his intensive labors.
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  • After working a lifetime and serving his country, Bill Anderson has some scars – those scars tell stories and speak volumes for his intensive labors.
    Thankfully, he was never injured in his service, but the repercussions of years of hard work take a toll on a man at the age of 76.
    “I was just 10 or 11 years old, worked during the summer on a farm in Nebraska,” Anderson said. “If anyone did that to a kid today, they'd be put in jail. Things were so different then.”
    Anderson graduated with the top 10 percent of his class in 1956 at Carthage High School. He was never one for the spotlight.
    “Something kind of funny, I went to the office for being in the top 10 percent at the end of the year, and a fella said 'how can you be in the top 10? You've never been in the honor roll,” Anderson remembered this moment, “I said, 'well, how do you get on the honor roll?' I found out you had to come down to the office to submit your name … I never did.”
    After high school, Anderson joined the U.S. Navy and became a Fire Controlman Second Class, taking care of equipment that fired artillery aboard the USS San Marcos – LSD 25.
    The Navy sent him to school for electronics and electricity, and additional education in computers. He was deployed twice for about six months at time; serving a total of four years.
    Anderson became a vital role in his service overseas, and his skills impressed his superior officers. Not only did he care for his ship's equipment, but also repaired other ships' as well.
    During one tour, Anderson's ship was off the shores of Lebanon.
    “It depends on what you would call a 'close call,'” Anderson said. “But at the time I didn't think there could be that many falling stars.”
    When Anderson returned home, he continued his skills in electrical work with Atlas. He climbed power poles for a living for 20 years.
    After that, he joined Schreiber Foods where he enjoyed a good working relationship with his supervisor.
    “He would tell me to fix something, or do something, and that would be the end of it,” Anderson said. “He never had to worry that it got done, or done right. Those machines always looked good.”
    In all his years working with electricity, it was here he experienced his only shock. A piece of equipment shot an electric jolt, knocking him down. He said he made sure that piece of equipment never hurt anyone ever again.
    “I think my son had it pretty right when he told a nurse, 'he's not your typical old man,'” Anderson said, with a little smile.
    Page 2 of 2 - Recent years have proved the body can only take so much.
    After having an aneurism surgically removed from his torso in September 2012, Anderson's blood pressure was difficult to manage so he was induced in a coma. As he was brought back to consciousness, it was procedure for nurses to hold down the patient.
    “They told my son, 'we handle old men all the time,'” Anderson said. “They found they should have listened to him.”
    This wasn't the first or last time Anderson was in the hospital. In 1970, he had back surgery. In 2005, he had to have back surgery again. He had a hip replacement in 2008. About four months after the aneurism surgery in 2012, a second aneurism had to be removed. Doctors only gave him a 25 percent chance that he would make it that time.
    On Thursday, he sat comfortably and leisurely in the C.A.N. D.O. Senior Center.
    “All you gotta do is let the good Lord take care of it and not worry about it,” he said. “Old men collect stories.”

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