Colonel Len “Loni” Anderson is a San Diego, CA native and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in 1993 through the Reserve Officer Training Corps after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. Later that year, he graduated on the Commanding General’s Honor Roll from The Basic School.
In January 1994, Col Anderson reported to NAS Pensacola, Florida for primary flight training and awarded Commodore’s List with Distinction. He then transferred to NAS Kingsville, TX for jet training and was designated a naval aviator in October 1995. He completed F/A-18 training with VFA-106 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida.
Col Anderson reported to Marine Aircraft Group-31, MCAS Beaufort, SC, where he joined the “Fabulous Checkerboards” of VMFA-312 and deployed twice with Carrier Air Wing Three between 1997-2001. While flying from USS ENTERPRISE in the Arabian Gulf, he was awarded a single mission Air Medal with combat “V” during Operation DESERT FOX. He also flew combat sorties in Operations SOUTHERN WATCH, and later from the Adriatic Sea during Operation DELIBERATE FORGE. He graduated from both the USMC Weapons and Tactics Instructor and The United States Navy Fighter Weapons School (TOPGUN) courses. Col Anderson spent over eighteen months at sea, was designated a Wing Landing Signals Officer and awarded Top Hook and Top Nugget awards.
In March 2001, Col Anderson transferred to MAG-31 as the MAG-31 Pilot Training Officer where he was selected to join the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron (Blue Angels) as the Marine Corps representative for the 2002-2004 show seasons. He was the narrator in 2002 and promoted to Major. He then flew the opposing and lead solo demonstration pilot positions during the 2003-2004 show seasons.
Following the Blue Angels tour, Col Anderson reported to Marine Aviation Training Support Group (MATSG)-21 on NAS Pensacola, FL as the Group Operations Officer, with additional duties flying as an instructor with VT-86 “Sabrehawks.” In November 2006, Col Anderson transferred to the Selected Marine Corps Reserve. From November 2006 to November 2008, Col Anderson served as a Marine Corps Reserve Instructor Pilot flying the T-2 in the advanced phase of Naval Flight Officer training. In November 2008, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and assigned as the MATSG-42 Operations Officer.
In July 2011, Col Anderson reported to MAG-41, NAS JRB Fort Worth as the MAG Training Officer, and later that year, transferred to the “Cowboys” as the Operations Officer until April 2013. Col Anderson was the Commanding Officer of the MALS-41”Desperados” from July 2013 until June 2015. He deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, serving as Deputy Director, Combined Joint Operations Center – Baghdad during combat operations in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE and promoted to Colonel in May 2015. Upon return, he assumed the billet of MAG-41 Senior Reserve Advisor.
From December 2016 to May 2017, Col Anderson deployed to Al Udeid Air Base, Qatar as the Battle Director for the 609th Combined Air Operations Center. Upon return, he was assigned as the Reserve Branch head to Headquarters, Marine Corps Department of Aviation where he served until May 2018. He is designated a Level II Joint Qualified Officer and is currently the 4th Marine Air Wing Assistant Wing Commander.
Col Anderson’s professional military education includes Advanced Joint Professional Military Education II, Command and Staff Distance Education Program, Amphibious Warfare Distance Education Program, United States Air Force Space Operations Course, and he has attended the Senior Planners Course, Reserve Senior Staff Course, Reserve Component National Security Course, and Joint Maritime Operations Course.
Col Anderson’s personal decorations include: Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with Gold Star, Individual Air Medal with Combat “V,” Strike/Flight award, Navy Commendation Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and various personal and unit awards.
Col Anderson has accumulated over 3300 mishap free hours in the F/A-18, to include 262 carrier arrestments, and is a pilot for FedEx Express in his civilian career.