General Earl E. Anderson, a native of Morgantown, W.Va., graduated from West Virginia University in 1940 with a bachelor's degree in physical education and in 1949 with a master's degree. He also earned a law degree from George Washington University where he was elected to the Order of the Coif.
Anderson is one of only 21 four-star generals in the entire history of the Marine Corps.
At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest four-star general in the Corps. He is also the only WVU graduate ever promoted to this rank in the U.S. Marines.
Beginning his military career at WVU, General Anderson was the top cadet officer in his class. During his 35-year Marine career, he served in combat actions in World War II, Korea and the Republic of Vietnam. He graduated from the Army War College, Foreign Services Institute and the Command and Staff College.
General Anderson held many posts including Director of Personnel, Marine Corps Headquarters; Chief of Staff, Third Marine Amphibious Force, Vietnam; Deputy Chief of Staff, Research, Development, and Studies; and was the first Program Manager for the Marine Corps Tactical Data Systems (the largest research and development effort in Marine Corps history).
In 1969, Anderson was promoted to lieutenant general and assumed duty as Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic. Three years later, he became Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, then named general in 1972.
Among his more than 20 United States and seven foreign personal decorations are a Distinguished Service Medal with Combat V,Distinguished Flying Cross, Vietnamese Distinguished Service Order Medal, Purple Heart Medal and gold stars for his participation as a pilot in more than 40 combat missions. He was also named West Virginia Son of the Year in 1973.
General Anderson is a former vice president of International Marketing and Consulting Corporation of Springfield, Va., and past member of the Board of Directors of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Committee. He continued to serve WVU as a member of the WVU Alumni Association Executive Council from 1971-78 and as president of the Alumni Association in 1976-77. He serves as chair of the trustees of the WVU Alumni Association’s Loyalty Permanent Endowment Fund.
While a student at WVU, Anderson was a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, Mountain Honorary and captain of the Mountaineer Baseball team.