Bill Anders was born in Hong Kong, the son of an American Naval officer on the
Yangtze River Patrol. Upon graduation in 1955, as an electrical engineer from
the United States Naval Academy, Anders was commissioned into the U.S. Air Force,
earning his pilots wings in 1956. As an Air Force pilot he served in all-weather
fighter interceptor squadrons in California and later in Iceland, where he
participated in early intercepts of Soviet heavy bombers who were then challenging
America's air defense borders.
In 1958 he entered the graduate studies program at the USAF Institute of Technology,
specializing in nuclear engineering while also taking a night school course in
aeronautical engineering from Ohio State University. He graduated with honors in
In late 1963, Anders was chosen by NASA for the astronaut corps. He was one of the first astronauts to fly the Lunar
Landing Training Vehicle. He was Lunar Module Pilot on the December, 1968 Apollo 8 lunar
orbit mission, the first manned flight on the giant Saturn V rocket and mankind's first
flight away from the earth to another body in the solar system.
He was appointed by the President to be the Executive
Secretary of the Aeronautics & Space Council.
In 1973, the President appointed Anders to the Atomic Energy Commission, where he was made
commissioner responsible for all civilian and military nuclear power R & D. With the breakup of
the AEC, he was made the first chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Following that he
was appointed the U.S. Ambassador to Norway.
Over his distinguished career Anders was the co-holder of several world flight records and has
received numerous awards including the USAF, NASA, and AEC's Distinguished Service Medals. He is
a recipient of the Collier Trophy, the Harmon Trophy, the Goddard Trophy, the Gen. Thomas D.
White Trophy, the American Astronautical Society's Flight Achievement Award, the National
Geographic Society's Hubbard Medal for exploration, and several honorary doctorate degrees. He
was chosen to be Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" in 1968 along with his Apollo 8 crewmates.