Anna Marie Anderson

Anna Marie Anderson

By Mary Kay Gominger

Imagine, if you will, how much collective knowledge of, well, just about everything, that we have right here at the AFRH. The group of veterans that live here have served in all branches of the service, in places all over the world, performing jobs that cover every possible task imaginable. If there was a way to count the number of years experience all the residents have together, the figures would be staggering.

Take for instance, resident Anna Marie Anderson. Anna, 83, has lived here almost a year. She’s retired Navy (10 years active, 10 years reserve), and the list of jobs she has held since her retirement is impressive. Check this out: Anna worked 10 years as an Adult Business Education teacher; two years as manager of a business school for Spanish-speaking students in California; one year as principal of the Business College in Norfolk, California; over two years as secretary to an Air Force general at the American Embassy in Germany; one year as secretary to the president of Sea World, a year as secretary to 28 aerospace engineers at NASA in San Diego; two years as manager of a business college in Virginia Beach; four years as Dean of Adult Education at Community College, New Bern, N.C.; six months as the first civilian manager of a Navy women’s barracks at NAS Norfolk; Educational Services Coordinator, Naval Air Station, Point Mugu, Calif.; and Public Relations Specialist at Point Mugu.

Anna said she moved around so much following her husbands’ career.

“I never had any trouble finding a job when we moved,” the retired yeoman senior chief petty officer said. “I loved all of them, especially my years in the Navy. I’d go back tomorrow if I could.”

When Anna enlisted in 1944, she said she did so out of patriotism and it was what all her friends were doing.

“Actually I initially wanted to join the Coast Guard but I couldn’t get a ride to Long Beach (California) to sign up so I found the local Navy recruiting station and joined up.” Anna said.

Anna said she would tell all young ladies today that joining the Navy was the best thing she ever did.

“I’d say go for it. You can be anything you want to be. The educational benefits alone are worth every minute of your time in the service,” she said.

Her awards include American Campaign, National Defense, World War II Victory, Naval Reserve Meritorious Service, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Navy Achievement and Navy Commendation.

Anna was also involved in many national organizations and held offices in most of them. Because they are so lengthy, her membership associations are listed below.

These days, Anna spends most of her time reading books.

“We have such a lovely library here and such a large selection of books. I just get in my scooter and browse the isles. Coming here was the best thing I could have done,” she said.