Monday, September 26, 2022

Avenue of Heroes: Charles R. Anderson

Written by Mrs. Helen McBride Anderson

Charles Raymond Anderson was a Coronado resident for 33 years. Born in Long Beach, California, in 1924 to parents Marjorie and Gareld Anderson, he attended Woodrow Wilson High School, California Institute of Technology and the U.S. Naval Academy. He graduated from Annapolis as part of the “Class of 1947 – The Best on the Severn.”

Distinguished Classmates were former President Jimmy Carter, former CIA Director Stansfield Turner, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral William Crowe, and local hero Vice Adm. Jim Stockdale.

Upon graduation, Anderson taught electrical engineering at the Naval Academy and served on USS Gearing (DD 710). He attended Naval Intelligence School and studied Chinese at the Defense Language Institute. Although he was a surface warfare officer, Anderson, who rose to the rank of captain during his career, had four overseas postings, serving as Assistant Naval Attaché to Taipei and Singapore. He also commanded the Naval Advisory Group of Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group in Bangkok and the Navy Section of the Military Assistance and Advisory Group in Tsoying, Taiwan.

CAPT Anderson had three commands at sea, USS Gurke (DD 783), USS Brinkley Bass (DD 887) and USS Kilauea (AE 26). His Navy service was honored by receipt of the World War II Victory Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Occupation China Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal and the National Service Defense Medal.

Upon retirement in July 1976, CAPT Anderson served as civilian advisor to the Iranian Navy. He returned to his home in Coronado in 1979 and purchased a 47-foot ketch, “The Resolute,” one of the joys of his life. Sailing, tennis, gardening and travel occupied the rest of his days.

CAPT Anderson loved his country, the Navy and his family; his life reflected this. He is survived by his beloved wife Helen, his two children: daughter Susan Read Anderson, son Dr. Gary Anderson, MD (Debby Crane Anderson); and his two grandchildren, granddaughter Lesley Michelle Anderson, and grandson, Sgt. Brian Christopher Anderson, U.S. Marine Corps. His was a life well spent and his legacy was manifest.

The Hometown Heroes Banner program is a military service recognition program sponsored by the City of Coronado. Introduced in 2014, the program has honored 193 Hometown Heroes. On Nov. 6, 2016 another 13 were honored. The City funds all the costs for this program and volunteers from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2422, the Coronado Historical Association and the Third and Fourth Streets Neighborhood Association oversee its operation. The inspiration for the program came spontaneously with the movement of two Navy SEALs to their final resting place. News spread quickly in Coronado. The local Rotary Club passed out American flags. People lined Fourth Street to honor the fallen service members. As the procession approached the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, a lone Navy SEAL stood for hours at attention, saluting as he waited for the passage of his comrades. At that moment, it was clear that Third and Fourth streets were already an Avenue of Heroes. From that spontaneous beginning, the program was launched in May 2015 with 18 banners. Ceremonies are held twice yearly and heroes have been recognized from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps. The Hometown Heroes Banner Program is a reminder that Coronado has a rich history and legacy of service to country.

Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: