Wyoming Hero Was A D-Day Survivor
From Carbon County to the beaches of Normandy, Oakley Anderson would be back to open a hotel on the sands of the North Platte in Saratoga, Wyoming.
On the 73rd anniversary of D-Day, we salute Oakley Anderson, a Wyomingite who was a U.S. Navy Electrician First Class. He arrived in France with the first troops on June 6, 1944. Anderson served aboard LST1, the first landing ship, which also hauled wounded back to England and returned to Normandy with supplies.
On those D Day landings, just on June 6, alone, an estimated 2500 American lives were cut down in their prime. Thank God Oakley Anderson wasn't one of them. Unlike many others, Oakley got to come home to finish a full life that touched other Wyoming lives.
Oakley was born in December 1921, grew up and graduated from Platte Valley High School in 1939. He enlisted in the Navy on March 29, 1942, and was honorably discharged after VE Day in 1945.
Anderson first did his duty, to help rescue freedom in Europe. Perhaps that experience gave him gratitude for the few different jobs he would have post-war, including working for his father, a local contractor and builder. He bought the Sinclair Service station on First and Bridge streets, and in the 1970's Oakley built and operated "The Riviera Lodge" on the banks of the North Platte.
Anderson also played a major role in the development of one of the premier jet airports in the country - Saratoga’s Shively Field (named after another local WWII hero who was shot down over France).
Mr. Anderson had a passion for helping others. He served on the town council, helped organize and promote the Saratoga Jaycees, was a 40-year member and past president of the Saratoga Lions Club, and a member of the St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.
Oakley and wife Opal raised two children, would have five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Oakley Anderson passed away on February 26, 2009, at a very good old age of 87.