In Memory of
U.S. Navy Reserve Lieutenant Sisseton, South Dakota
Roberts County

May2, 1923 - January 29, 1953
Missing in Action in Korea, Presumed Dead


Francis Coleman Anderson was born on May 2, 1923 to Arthur “Doc” and Esther Victoria (Palm) Anderson. He was raised and educated in Sisseton, where he attended high school. He later graduated from “State College with an engineer degree” and reportedly attended the University of Iowa and then the Iowa City Navy Pilot Program. At some point he worked for the US Corps of Engineers in Alaska.

Lt. Francis Anderson served in WW II, enlisting on October 30, 1942, and after the war was inactivated to Naval Reserve. He was recalled to active service on April 15, 1951, and was assigned duty as a fighter pilot who flew an AD-4N Skyraider night bomber with Detachment F, Composite Squadron 35, aboard the USS Kearsarge. He had reportedly been in combat for five months before his disappearance. A declassified report was obtained and contained the following information about the fate of Lt. Francis Anderson:

On January 8, 1953, the USS Kearsarge and its air group left the Hong Kong harbor and were underway to Korea and started combat air operations on January 21. On January 29, 1953, during a “night heckler mission” Lt. Francis Coleman Anderson and a crewman were declared missing in action. Although there was a “comprehensive search,” no information was revealed about their fates.

Lt. Francis Anderson was presumed dead and a death date was set on June 14, 1954; his body was never recovered. Among his awards were the Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Korean Service Medal, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the Korean War Service Medal.

This entry was respectfully submitted by Erika R. Carlson, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, May 21, 2004. Information for this entry was provided by the SD National Guard Museum, the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the Sisseton Courier, February 5, 1953 issue. No family contact made.