Fernald Philip Anderson was born in New Sweden, Maine, on 27 August 1915, son of the late Philip J. and Paulina (Malmquist) Anderson. He was graduated from Caribou (Maine) High School in 1932, and on 16 July 1935, entered the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on appointment of Representative Ralph O. Brewster of the Third District of Maine. While a Midshipman he played tennis and was a member of the Glee Club and Musical Shows. He was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science and commissioned Ensign in the US Navy on 1 June l939, and by subsequent progression achieved the rank of Captain, to date from 1 January 1958.
After graduation from the Naval Academy in June 1939, he was assigned briefly to "F" Division of USS Northampton. Detached in September of that year, he had a year's duty on board USS Aaron Ward as Assistant Gunnery Officer, and in various other capacities, and was present when that destroyer was turned over to the British Royal Navy at Halifax, NS in September 1940, as one of the fifty destroyers delivered according to the Lease-Lend Agreement.
From September 1940 until September 1941 he was 7th Division Officer of the USS Arkansas, and when detached from that battleship he was ordered to the Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida, for flight training. Designated a Naval Aviator on 8 May 1942, early in the World War II period he had almost three years' service with Patrol Bombing Squadron THIRTY-THREE, as Maintenance Officer and Flight Officer (three months each), and Executive Officer (eighteen months), and finally as Commanding Officer (ten months). This service took him to Panama, Hawaii, Australia, New Guinea, the Admiralties and the Philippines, and he participated in all campaigns in the Southwest Pacific Area from September 1943 until February 1945, ending with Leyte, Mindoro and Lingayen Gulf.
He was Commanding Officer when Patrol Bombing Squadron THIRTY-THREE won the Presidential Unit Citation for sinking 104,500 tons and damaging 53,000 tons of enemy shipping during the month of September 1944, flying PBY-5 Catalina’s (Black-Cats). He was personally awarded the Legion of Merit with Combat "V," a Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters in lieu of three additional Air Medals. The Oak Leaf Clusters were awarded by the FIFTH Air Force for combat missions in the Southwest Pacific Area during 1943 and 1944; and citations to the first three follow, in part:
Legion of Merit: "For exceptionally meritorious conduct...while serving as Commanding Officer of a Catalina Squadron, during Blackcat operations against enemy Japanese forces in the Netherlands East Indies, from 12 September 1944. Participating in numerous night patrols in the vicinity of strong enemy bases and seeking out the enemy to attack him, Lieutenant Commander Anderson sank two hostile warships, a small freighter, numerous loaded and armed craft and, in addition, heavily damaged a freighter-transport. In the return of Allied power to the Japanese bastions in the Philippines, he piloted the first aircraft to penetrate the enemy stronghold of Zamboanga, the Sulu Sea and Northern Borneo..."
Distinguished Flying Cross: "For heroism and extraordinary achievement in aerial flight as Commander of a Patrol Plane, during operations against enemy Japanese forces in Kolono Bay, Southern Celebes, on 23 September 1944. Pressing home his attack on a 10,500 ton hostile tanker and escort, despite intense anti-aircraft fire which hit his plane, Lieutenant Commander Anderson struck the tanker with three heavy bombs at masthead height, causing it to explode, blaze furiously and sink. His skill and coolness under fire were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service."
Air Medal: "For meritorious achievement in aerial flight as Commander of a Catalina Aircraft during action against enemy Japanese barges and shore installations off the Northern Coast of New Guinea and in the Caroline Islands on the nights of March 14,31, and 5 April 1944. Determined and courageous throughout hazardous night attacks against heavily fortified shore installations, (he) repeatedly braved intense hostile antiaircraft fire to strike at hostile barges...went in at perilously low altitudes and, pressing home his attacks at close range destroyed approximately twenty-five enemy barges and caused widespread damage to shore establishments despite severe damage inflicted on his own plane..."
Following his return to the United States in March 1945, he reported in May as Executive Officer of the US Naval Air Station, Brunswick, Maine. After ten months there he was ordered to Pensacola, Florida, for duty as Assistant Superintendent of Aviation Training. He had instruction at the Naval All Weather Flight School, Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, Texas, from December 1947 until February 1948, after which he served as Prospective Executive Officer of Experimental Squadron FOUR (Air Development) for one month, then had twenty two months duty as Executive Officer of Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE (Patrol Squadron FIFTY-ONE).
He next had a tour of shore duty in the Navy Department, Washington, DC, assigned to the Naval Research Laboratory as Program Officer and Atomic Energy Commission Liaison, during the period March 1950 until April 1952. In June 1952 he assumed command of Airborne Early Warning Squadron ONE, and after a year in that command, served a year as Operations Officer on the Staff of Commander Fleet Air, Hawaii. He returned to the Navy Department in July 1954, and the next two years was assigned to the Aviation Personnel Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
He was a student at the National War College from August 1956 until June 1957, then joined the Staff of Commander Air Force, Atlantic Fleet, as Personnel Plans and Requirements Officer. In March 1958, he moved over to the Staff of Commander-in-Chief, Atlantic Command, where he was Atomic Weapons Plans Officer until August 1960. Then next month he began another tour in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, this time as Director of the Astronautics Operations Division, and in February 1961 reported for duty in the Office of the Special Assistant to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for Disarmament Affairs, Washington, DC. In April 1965 he joined the Naval Council of Personnel Boards, Navy Department.
In addition to the Legion of Merit with Combat "V," the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Captain Anderson has a foreign decoration, Cruz de Boyaca awarded by the Government of Colombia. He also has the American Defense Service Medal, with bronze "A"; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with silver star (five engagements); the World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Korean Service Medal with one star; United Nations Service Medal; and the Philippine Liberation Ribbon with two stars.