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Rudolf Anderson, Jr. Collection

Identifier: Mss-0375

Content Information

The Rudolf Anderson, Jr. Collection was created by Jack Parillo, a 1959 architecture graduate of Clemson College and a former crew chief/flight engineer in the U.S. Air Force. The material was collected during Parillo’s efforts to commemorate Anderson’s death during the Cuban Missile Crisis, including the award of the Medal of Honor to Anderson.

The collection contains correspondence relating to the Medal of Honor campaign and to various commemorative events honoring him. It includes biographical information about Anderson and his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis as well as information on the Crisis in general. There is also material on the U-2 program and aircraft gathered as Parillo tried to obtain a U-2 for display at various locations, including the Major Rudolf Anderson Jr. Memorial in Greenville, SC. In addition, the collection includes site plans for displaying the aircraft as part of the Memorial or in front of the Greenville airport.

The collection is arranged alphabetically by folder title and covers the period 1948 to 2019, with most of the material dating from 1995 to 2009.


  • 1948-1964, 1968, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1984, 1989-2012, 2014, 2018-2019


Access Restrictions

This collection is open to the public without restriction.

Use Restrictions

This collection contains audio-visual material. Please contact Special Collection and Archives (, 864.656.3031) for details.


Rudolf Anderson, Jr. was born in Spartanburg, SC on September 15, 1927, the son of Rudolf Sr. and Mary Barksdale Anderson. He graduated from Greenville High School in 1944 and from Clemson College in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Textile Engineering. While at Clemson he was a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps Detachment 770 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After graduation he worked in the textile industry until he enlisted in the Air Force on November 6, 1951.

Anderson graduated from flight school and was promoted to first lieutenant in 1953. He was assigned to the 15th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron based in Kimpo, South Korea, where he earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses for reconnaissance flights after the Korean War ended. He returned to the United States in 1955 when he was assigned to the 71st Reconnaissance Wing stationed at Larson Air Force Base, Moses Lake, Washington.

Anderson was assigned to the 4028th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing based at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas and qualified on the U-2 on September 3, 1957. He married Frances Jane Corbett and they had three children: Rudolf III, James, and Robyn (born 7 months after Anderson’s death).

Anderson attained the rank of major while assigned to the 4028th. On October 27, 1962 he was shot down during his sixth mission over Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and became the only U.S. fatality by enemy fire during the Crisis. He was buried in Greenville, SC. In 1962 Anderson was posthumously awarded the first Air Force Cross, as well as the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Purple Heart, and the Cheney Award. The Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr. Memorial in Cleveland Park, Greenville, SC was dedicated in 1963; it was rededicated in 1998 and redesigned in 2012. He was inducted into the South Carolina Aviation Hall of Fame in 2009. That same year the Operation Training Complex at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas was renamed Anderson Hall in his honor. In 2011 Anderson was inducted into the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Distinguished Alumni.


2 Cubic Feet (1 records center carton, 1 document box, 1 oversize box)

Language of Materials



This collection is a valuable resource in researching Major Rudolf Anderson’s career, his role in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and efforts to memorialize him as the only U.S. casualty of enemy fire during the Crisis.

The collection consists of articles, correspondence, DVDs, military records, newspaper clippings, photographs, site plans, and other materials that document efforts to commemorate his service through the awarding of a Medal of Honor and other projects, such as adding a U-2 aircraft to the Major Rudolf Anderson Jr. Memorial in Greenville, SC.


Alphabetical by folder title.

Acquisition Source

Donated by Jack Parillo in 2003, 2013, and 2021. Accessions 03-186, 13-233, and 2021.

Processing Information

The collection was processed and a finding aid created by James Cross in 2021-2022.

A Guide to the Rudolf Anderson, Jr. Collection, 1948-2019
In Progress
James Cross
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Clemson University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Repository

230 Kappa St.
Clemson SC 29634 U.S.A. US