In Memory of U.S. Navy Ensign
Leonard Elmer Anderson
Leola, South Dakota/ Aberdeen, South Dakota, McPherson
August 6, 1938 – October 27, 1965
Lost Overboard from the USS Annapolis in the South China
Leonard Elmer Anderson was born August 6, 1938, in McPherson
County of South Dakota to Carl and Josephine (Sandstil)
Anderson. He had a sister, Evelyn, and a brother, Norris. He
first attended rural grade school near Forbes, North Dakota, and
went on to graduate from Leola High School in 1956. Leonard then
joined the Navy and served for three years before being
honorably discharged in 1959. He graduated from South Dakota
State University in 1963.
Leonard Anderson reenlisted in the Navy and went to Officers
Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island, graduating on August
21, 1964 and being commissioned in the Supply Corps of the U.S.
Naval Reserve. During his naval career, he was stationed in such
places as Oklahoma, Florida, Turkey, and Morocco before being
assigned to the USS Annapolis, a major communications
relay ship, on April 27, 1965, where he served as a disbursing
officer. The ship’s mission was to “provide fleet broadcasts,
inter-area relay circuits, and relay circuits for ship to ship
and ship to shore communications.”
Ensign Leonard Elmer Anderson was lost overboard from the
USS Annapolis on October 27, 1965, in the South China Sea.
Only when he did not appear to take over the watch was it
discovered he was missing. The ship immediately turned around
and retraced its course but to no avail. His body was never
recovered. Later in a newspaper article, his sister, Evelyn
Schaible, said that they never really knew what had happened and
had held out hope for a long time that maybe he was still alive.
A memorial service was held for Leonard Anderson on April 23,
1966. There was a bronze memorial installed in his memory at
Sunset Memorial Gardens in Aberdeen, South Dakota. His name is
also listed on the Brown County Vietnam Memorial.
This entry was respectfully submitted by Sheila Hansen,
teacher, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, July
9, 2006. Information for this entry was provided by the Anderson
family via Herbert and Evelyn Schaible.