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Adapted from "Lieutenant Commander Franklin W. Anderson, United States Navy" [biography, dated 9 January 1969] in Modern Biographical Files collection, Navy Department Library.

Document Type
  • Biography
Wars & Conflicts
  • Vietnam Conflict 1962-1975
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Location of Archival Materials

Franklin Warren Anderson

25 April 1934 -

PDF Version [1.5MB]

Franklin Warren Anderson was born in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, on April 25, 1934, son of Lloyd J. and Goldie W. (Hotz) Anderson. In 1952 he graduated from Pagosa Springs High School and attended Fort Lewis Agricultural and Mechanical College (1952-1954) and Colorado State University at Fort Collins (1955-1956), receiving the degrees of Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Animal Husbandry. On October 8, 1956, he enlisted in the US Naval Reserve and attended Officer Candidate School, Newport, Rhode Island. Upon graduation on February 28, 1957, he was commissioned Ensign in the US Naval Reserve. He subsequently advanced in rank to that of Lieutenant Commander, to date from October 1, 1965. On January 4, 1966 he was transferred from the US Naval Reserve to the US Navy.

After receiving his commission in 1957, he had four months' underwater demolition team training at the Naval Amphibious School, Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, California. During the period July 1957 to June 1964 he had duty with Demolition Team ELEVEN at the Coronado Amphibious Base, serving in various capacities, including Executive Officer from August 1961. In that assignment, he was Officer in Charge of UDT Detachments on Project CAESAR, laying cable and demolition work in California, Oregon and Washington; at Kwajalein on Nike-ZEUS Project and at Wake Island, laying underwater hydrophones and cables.

In June 1964 he reported as Underwater Demolition Team/SEAL (sea, air and land forces) Advisor to the Vietnamese Navy attached to the Naval Advisory Group, Military Assistance Command, Republic of Vietnam. In that capacity, he participated in the Battle of Vung Ro and the skirmish at Cua Viet, where a great amount of war materials and four Viet Congs were captured. "For meritorious service from June 29 1964 to July 28, 1965 while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in armed conflict against communist insurgent forces in Vietnam..." he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V." The citation continues:

"As advisor to the Vietnamese Navy Lien Doi Nhuoi Nhai, the equivalent of the United States SEAL/Underwater Demolition Teams, Lieutenant Commander Anderson participated in the diving recovery of arms, ammunition, documents and other evidence from a sunken communist ship at Vung Ro Bay, South Vietnam, which proved conclusively the Chinese Communist and North Vietnamese origin of those war materials. Accompanying other Vietnamese and allied units in the area, he was subjected to heavy enemy fire during these operations. The services performed by Lieutenant Commander Anderson and the unit he advised were arduous, dangerous, and required an exceptional degree of stamina and fortitude. Through his exceptional initiative and professional abilities, he brought about significant improvements in Vietnamese naval capabilities..."

He became Special Warfare Officer at the Naval Operations Support Group, Pacific, Naval Amphibious Base, Coronado, California, and in that assignment had further duty as Acting Operations Officer for eight months and Acting Conventional Warfare Officer for eight months. In June 1966 he assumed command of SEAL Team ONE, which was deployed in Vietnam. He is entitled to the Ribbon for, and a facsimile of the Presidential Unit Citation awarded that team, the first such Presidential award to be awarded a Navy SEAL Team. The citation follows:

"For exceptionally meritorious and heroic service from 16 July 1966 to 31 August 1967, in the conduct of naval unconventional warfare operations against the Viet Cong in the Republic of Vietnam. Although often required to carry out their operations in treacherous and almost impenetrable mangrove swamps against overwhelming odds, SEAL Team ONE personnel maintained an aggressive operating schedule and were highly successful in gathering intelligence data and in interdicting Viet Cong operations. On one occasion, a six-man fire team ambushed one junk and two sampans, accounting for seven Viet Cong dead and the capture of valuable intelligence data. During this daring ambush all members of the fire team remained exposed, waist-deep mud and water in order to obtain clear fields of fire. As a result of their constant alertness and skillful reading of Viet Cong trail markers, patrols of SEAL Team ONE succeeded in discovering numerous well-concealed Viet Cong base camps and supply caches, and captured or destroyed over 228 tons of Viet Cong rice, as well as numerous river craft, weapons, buildings and documents. The outstanding esprit de corps of the men of this unit was evidenced on 7 October 1966 when a direct hit by an enemy mortar round wounded sixteen of the nineteen men aboard the detachment's armed LCM, and again on 7 April 1967 when three members of the SEAL Team ONE LCM were killed and eleven were wounded in a fire fight with Viet Cong positioned along the banks of a narrow stream. On occasions, SEAL Team ONE men who were able, even though seriously wounded, returned to their positions and continued to fire their weapons until the boat was out of danger, thereby helping to the save the lives of their comrades..."

He reported in August 1968 for instruction at the Defense Intelligence School, Washington, DC.

In addition to the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V," and the Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon, Lieutenant Commander Anderson has the National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Vietnam Service Medal. He also has the Vietnamese Gallantry Cross with Gold Star.

Lieutenant Commander Anderson is active in 4H work and was County 4H Representative to the State Conference. He is a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity.


Published: Wed Sep 19 13:05:17 EDT 2018