This is a tribute to a man I never met, my Uncle Stewart. Uncle Stewart paid the ultimate price in service to his country. Uncle Stewart never came home from World War II. 

Rate /Rank: Radioman Third Class

Son of Olaf and Selma Andersen

Born: June 29, 1924 in Frontier, Canada, raised in Pasadena, California

Age 22 on July 9, 1943

Stewart Andersen was Olaf and Selma Andersen's youngest child in a family composed of 3 brothers and a sister. He grew up in sunny Southern California long before freeways and housing tracts, and smog choked the landscape.

Stewart was said to be the family gem. He was bright, articulate, easy going and in many ways seemed to form a nucleus that enriched the rest of the family. This fact made his loss especially difficult. Before sailing away on the Heintzelman, Stewart had already found the girl he wanted to marry. There is a classic family photo of Stewart in his crackerjack uniform hugging his girlfriend before reporting for duty aboard the Heintzelman.

Stewart was the only one of the brothers to serve his country in uniform. Brothers Abner and Clifford worked in construction during the war years. Abner the oldest brother, helped build military bases in the Aleutian Islands. When it seemed that the Japanese were threatening to invade Alaska and the Aleutian Islands Abner worked on the ALCAN Highway Project. An amazing project that built a 1500 miles highway is just 8 months time.

The Heintzelman was Stewart's first duty assignment after joining the Navy. After completing his Radioman training Stewart made one last visit home before reporting to the Heintzelman in Charleston S.C. To this day there is a classic family photo showing Stewart kissing his fiancé before going off to war.

Abner, the oldest of the brothers remembers getting the news of the Heintzelman's loss while he was working in the Aleutian Islands. Overcome with grief he walked alone on the beach to try to come to terms with the news. Ironically, on that same day Esther, Stewart's sister announced her engagement with Tom Matthews.

Stewarts mother Selma was especially hard hit with the news. It was said that for years she would often look down the driveway hoping to see Stewart coming home in the familiar crackerjack uniform. Several years later Stewarts mother suffered a nervous breakdown. Stewart's mysterious disappearance was thought by many to be a factor in Selma's declining health.

Biographic information provided by:
Eric Andersen (nephew of Stewart Andersen and son of Abner Andersen)

  

 



Stewart at the state capital in Denver, Colorado January, 1943. After his training, Stewart was assigned as a Radioman to a liberty ship named the SS Samuel Heintzelman.

 

 

The Official 'Missing In Action' Letter


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