By Greg Gielczyk

SCOTTVILLE–ROTC training was compulsory for the first 2 years when Dr. William Anderson was in college at Michigan State University.

The Vietnam War was heating up when he graduated and went into the Army. He served from 1962-64 and he was stationed in Bavaria, which is in the southern part of Germany.

Specifically, he was based in Ulm, a city of 100,000 people at the time, just 17 years after the end of World War II.

“I stayed in ROTC for advanced and graduated as a Second Lieutenant, and I had one year to go active duty,” said Anderson. “I was a history major, so I decided I would really work at it hard and earn my Masters before I went in the service.

“So I took the maximum load and went to summer school,and earned an MA before I went into the service.”

Anderson was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia for officer’s training school, and then shipped out to Germany.

His first assignment was as a rifle platoon leader and later promoted to an 81 mortar platoon.

He was then promoted to senior staff, S-1 as an adjutant responsible for all personnel or human relations, all communications as well as training, was directly responsible for the administration of all military punishment, and reported directly to the commanding officer.

Anderson’s battalion was designated as the demonstration unit for all U.S. forces in Europe and was regularly reviewed by several generals who sat in a reviewing stand.

He had a minor role during the Cuban Missile Crisis, given the responsibility of inspecting all of the ammunition dumps in the region.

“If I found that they were insufficient, I was to take action to increase the security,” Anderson said.

During field exercises once a year, Anderson served as a spotter for the mortars.

He was also an umpire, evaluating the commanders and the troops of a 4.2 millimeter, spending an entire month in the winter performing that duty

While in the Army, Anderson — who grew up on a dairy farm where he learned his work ethic — made the baseball team at Fort Riley, Kansas.

“I was the centerfielder on a team that had three former professional minor leaguers,” said Anderson.

Anderson stands with Detroit Tigers legend Allan Trammell after publishing his book on Tigers teams from 1881-2014.

He’s written several books on baseball, specifically the Detroit Tigers.

Anderson’s dream before entering the military was to earn a PHD in history, with a special interest in the Civil War, and teach at a college.

But at the time, Anderson was married, and his wife was pregnant in his second year in Germany so he extended for a third year and scrapped the idea of going to graduate school for his PHD in history.

Certified as a secondary teacher, Anderson — who was in the first graduating class of Mason County Central in 1956 — taught at Jackson Northwest and coached track and cross country. He still had his eye on teaching in college.

Following a year at Jackson Northwest, he was hired as a faculty member and division chair at a brand new community college called Southwest Michigan College in Dowagiac.

Anderson took the vice presidency of Carl Sandberg College in Galesburg, Ill. and after 4 years, became its president, serving in that position for 6 years.

Following that stint, Anderson served as the second president of West Shore Community College from 1983-1998. He was the founding director of the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries in Lansing.

He retired in 1998 after a 33-year career in higher education serving as instructor, division chair, et al.

“I did a lot of writing in the Army, and I also got a great background in leadership,” Anderson, 83, said. “It served me well later on in the education field.”

All three of his children are West Shore graduates, and three of their children are as well.

David is 58, Dan is 53 and Susan is 51. David married a girl from Manistee, who also graduated from West Shore.