HARALD ANDERSEN, LCDR, USN
Harald Andersen '67
Date of birth: January 28, 1944
Date of death: December 3, 1977
From the 1967 Lucky Bag:
From the June 1978 issue of Shipmate:
LCdr. Harald Andersen USN was drowned at sea on 3 December 1977 in an aircraft accident. His remains were recovered.
Born in Oslo, Norway, he was appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of California and was graduated with the Class of 1967. Prior to receiving his appointment to the Naval Academy, he had attended the University of California at Los Angeles. After a tour in Benner he was accepted for flight training and designated naval aviator in 1970. Duty at NAS Lemoore, California, with VA-128 and then on board the carrier F. D. Roosevelt with VA-87 followed, whereupon he attended the Defense Language Institute in Monterey prior to serving with the French Navy as an exchange pilot for over two years. Later duty was with VA-174 and VA-72 in John F. Kennedy. He was in the same squadron in Dwight D . Eisenhower when the fatal accident occurred during a post-maintenance check flight.
He is survived by his widow, Mary, 156 Foxridge Road, Orange Park FL 32073.
From CVN 69 History:
An A-7E Corsair II, assigned to Attack Squadron (VA) 72, suffered a mechanical malfunction and crashed shortly after launching from catapult No. 4. Lt. Cmdr. Harold Andersen ejected and the ship launched a motor whaleboat, assisted by a Sikorsky SH-3D from HS-11, to recover him. The Sea King crew dropped a swimmer to retrieve the pilot, but Andersen apparently had become entangled in his parachute and drowned.
He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
From the Class of 1967's 50th Reunion Yearbook, via William Belden '67 (Hal's roommate):
Hal’s life-long goal was to become a Naval Aviator. Poor eyesight in one eye got him orders to the USS Brenner (DD807) as the DASH Control Officer. He wore an eyepatch for over a year to strengthen his eye and entered flight school in December 1968. He flew A-7A’s in VA-87 for two Med deployments. Following this, he attended the Defense Language School (French) in Monterey and had an exchange tour with the French Navy, flying the Etendard jet in Flotilla 17 Squadron, based in Hyeres, France.
It was during this tour that he met his wonderful bride, Mary, in Athens. They were married on April 4, 1974. Their beautiful daughter, Karen, was born on August 22, 1977.
After returning to the US in November 1975, Hal completed the RAG in the A-7B and was attached to VA-72, as Maintenance Officer. Tragically, on December 3, 1977, shortly after launch from the USS Eisenhower on a post-maintenance test flight, Hal was forced to eject and lost his life.
Hal’s spirit and legacy lives on through Mary, who lives in Santa Fe, NM, his daughter Karen and granddaughter, Hanna. Karen and family live in Chicago where she is a biotech analyst at Morningstar.
Hal was always fun to be around - had a gift for loving life, was a natural leader, a valued friend to all his classmates and shipmates, and, most of all, he cherished Mary and Karen.
All photos courtesy William Belden '67.