SGT Melvin Carl Anderson was born in Kansas City, Missouri on 15 December 1912. He was the fourth child of five born to Swedish immigrant parents Carl Olaf Anderson and Ellen Sophia Johnson. The family moved to Stromsberg, Nebraska in 1914, becoming farmers. The farming endeavor did not prove to be successful. Carl and Ellen then moved to Omaha in 1922 where Carl found a job with Disbrow & Company as a cabinet maker.
Melvin spent his formative years in Omaha. Mel, as he was known to his family, was a member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church. He graduated from Technical High School in 1930. Mel was known as a kind, fun loving guy. Following graduation Mel worked for the T. F. Naughtin Company, a dry-cleaning company. His employment was essential for the family surviving the Depression.
Mel entered the Army from Omaha in March of 1942. He was stationed at posts in the U.S. including Bremerton, Washington, Texas and New Jersey. He trained for the M10 Tank Destroyers also known as Wolverines. He was reassigned to London, England in February 1944 in preparation of D-Day. Mel’s unit landed at Omaha beach on 13 June 1944, where he was hit in the arm by a sniper bullet. Mel was returned to England for medical care and to recuperate.
Mel rejoined his unit in September 1944. Company C, 803 Tank Destroyer Battalion, attached to the 5th Infantry, was sent to the Hurtgen Forest on the border of Belgium and Germany. The Battle of the Hurtgen Forrest was one of the longest battles fought during WWII. Mel was the commander of an M10 Tank Destroyer with a crew of 5. They and many other units battled for 2 months to take the forest. On 25 November 1944, Mel’s unit was under heavy fire as they broke through the forest near Groshau, Germany. Unfortunately, Mel’s Tank Destroyer was hit by anti-tank artillery. Mel and CPL Joseph Akers, the tank driver, were killed in the attack. The 3 other crew members were able to escape. Several days after the altercation, crew members reported the Tank Destroyer as burned out.
Mel Anderson, Age 12
Standing, 3rd front left
Unfortunately, the remains of Mel and CPL Akers were not recovered. They were listed as Missing in Action and honored on the Tablets of the Missing in Margaretten Holland until 10 May 2018, when both men’s remains were identified at the Offut Air Force Base DNA Lab. They had been buried together as Unknowns at the Rhone American Cemetery in southern France. The status of both soldiers has now been changed to Killed in Action.
SGT Melvin Anderson’s remains have been interred at the National Cemetery in Omaha. He is the first Killed in Action service member interred at the Omaha National Cemetery. Sgt Anderson was awarded the Purple heart with oak clusters. His head stone says “Hero” and “Never Forgotten”. Mel is home now.
Honor and Remember Nebraska Chapter is pleased to present this flag sponsored by Jonestone Supply to the family of SGT Melvin C. Anderson.