Herbert Augustus Anderson was born in Brooklyn, New York, on 25 January 1894, son of Andrew and Hannah Borgeson Anderson. He enlisted in the United States Navy at Philadelphia in April, 1911, reenlisting in May, 1915. During World War I he was a Gunner (temporary Warrant Officer) until 18 May 1919, when he resigned and was commissioned an Ensign in the US Naval Reserve Force for temporary service. A year later he reverted to Warrant Officer, and was discharged as such on 18 May 1920. He was recommissioned Lieutenant, junior grade, USNRF on 9 October 1920, and after one year he was transferred to the US Navy in that grade. He subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain to date from 1 July 1943, and on 1 December 1950 he was transferred to the Retired List of the Navy and promoted to Rear Admiral on the basis of combat awards.
During the World War I , he served in the USS North Carolina as Gunner, and when detached from that battleship in July, 1919, he had duty in the submarines N-2 and 0-1 at Boston, successively until April 1920. Returning to active duty in December, 1921 he served as Navigator in the USS Charles Ausburne, attached to Division 27, Squadron 9, Destroyer Squadrons, Scouting Fleet in the Atlantic. From June, 1924 to November, 1926 he had shore duty as Assistant Naval Inspector of Navigational Material, Sperry Gyroscope Company, New York, New York.
From December, 1926 to September, 1927 he served in the USS Nevada, and thereafter was briefly attached to the USS Oklahoma at Philadelphia Navy Yard undergoing major overhaul. From December, 1937 he was hospitalized in the Third Naval District, and for one year from November, 1928, he was attached to the USS Seattle, Receiving Ship at New York, New York. In November, 1929 he joined the USS Florida, with Battleship Division 2, Scouting Fleet. For three years from March, 1931 he was assigned for duty in the USS Trenton, flagship of Cruiser Division 2, Scouting Force, US Fleet.
He was ordered to the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, Newport News, Virginia, where he served in the Office of the Inspector of Machinery from April, 1934 to June, 1936. When detached he assumed command of the USS Grebe, minesweeper of Train, Base Force, at San Pedro, California, transferring in October, 1937 to the USS Gold Star, station ship at Guam, and from July to August, 1939 he was attached to the Naval Station there before returning to the United States.
From October, 1939 to August, 1941 he was assigned to the Navy Yard, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, serving in the Planning Division, Industrial Department. He was ordered aboard the USS Guadalupe for duty as Executive Officer, and served until October, 1943, when he assumed command of that oiler. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device, V, the citation stating in part: "For meritorious service as Commanding Officer of the USS Guadalupe and as a Task Unit Commander of the Fuel Support Group, during operations in support of THIRD Fleet attacks against enemy Japanese forces in the Western Caroline and Philippine Islands Areas from 20 August to 26 December 1944. Exercising leadership and skill, (he) solved "- numerous complex details incidental to insuring the safety of his ship and Task Unit and rendered logistic support essential to the success of operations in this area...."
In March, 1945 he assumed duty in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Base Maintenance Division, Navy Department , Washington, DC. After two years he was reassigned as Officer in Charge of Material, US Naval Observatory, Washington, DC, and served in that duty until January, 1949. The next month he was given command of the USS Pollux, General Stores-Issue Ship. Relieved of that command in April, 1950, he had orders to duty as Assistant Chief of Staff and Administration Planning Officer on the staff of the Commandant, Twelfth Naval District, San Francisco, California. He was so serving when relieved of active duty pending his transfer to the Retired List of the Navy, effective 1 December 1950.
In addition to the Bronze Star Medal with Combat V, Rear Admiral Anderson has the World War I Victory Medal, Escort Clasp; China Service Medal with bronze star; American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; and Philippine Liberation Ribbon.