In 1933, William Anders was born in Hong Kong. In 1955, he attained a bachelor of science degree from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and was commissioned into the Air Force shortly after graduation. Anders served as a fighter pilot in all-weather interception squadrons of the Air Defense Command, and later at the New Mexico Air Force Weapons Laboratory, where he was responsible for technical management of nuclear power reactor shielding and radiation effects programs. He earned a master’s degree in nuclear engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1962.
In 1964, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration selected Anders to be an astronaut with responsibilities for dosimetry, radiation effects and environmental controls. In December 1968, he served as the lunar module pilot for Apollo 8, the first manned spaceflight mission to leave earth’s orbit and enter into lunar orbit. He operated the Apollo 8 mission alongside Air Force Veteran Frank F. Borman II and Navy Veteran James A. Lovell, Jr. In total, he logged more than 6,000 hours of flying time.
Anders worked for the United States federal government in several different capacities for 26 years, including as chairman of the joint United States/Union of Soviet Socialist Republics technology exchange program, first chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and United States ambassador to Norway. Afterwards, he held several management and board positions in the General Electric Company.
In 1988, Anders retired from the United States Air Force Reserve as a major general. For his service, he earned the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal. He also was inducted into the International Space Hall of Fame, United States Astronaut Hall of Fame and several others. He and his wife, Valerie Hoard, had six children: Alan, Glen, Gayle, Gregory, Eric and Diana. Anders enjoyed fishing, flying and cross-country skiing.
We honor his service.