FAYETTEVILLE - Babe Ruth Anderson, 85, of Fayetteville, died Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013, in the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville. Babe was born May 1, 1927, in Jefferson County, Fla. Raised by his grandfather, his primary aspiration was to join the military. He joined the Marines initially and then the Army, where he had a distinguished career for more than 20 years. Many of Babe's Army buddies affectionately called him "Big Tech." He walked fast and looked straight ahead. He was often asked the question, "Where are you going, Big Tech?" His reply would be, "Oh, man, I am just moving on." Babe's calling was to be a soldier. He wanted to be a great soldier and he lived up to that expectation. Babe loved his country and the Armed Forces. He also loved his wife Esther, to whom he was married for more than 50 years before her death, and his children and his grandchildren. Babe was a World War II veteran and served in Korea with the 2nd Ranger Infantry Company (Airborne), the only Black Ranger outfit in the history of the U.S. Army. He earned a Purple Heart while serving in Korea. Under President John F. Kennedy's administration, Babe joined an elite group of special soldiers called Green Berets. These soldiers are highly skilled and trained in areas few soldiers would ever be interested in pursuing. They were trained to endure the toughest of conditions and succeed. They are very highly regarded. The Green Berets became a very real distinction of excellence among Special Forces. Under the Kennedy administration, Babe was part of the first team of military advisers sent to Vietnam. The U.S. Special Forces team was sent to organize the Montagnards, the mountain people of Vietnam. Babe enjoyed and held a great fondness for the mountain people. He would often recount stories about them. His children enjoyed listening to these stories. Babe would soon return to Vietnam as a combat soldier. He completed several tours there and earned another Purple Heart while serving there. He retired from Special Forces in 1967. In 1968, the U.S. State Department hired Babe through its Agency for International Development. He returned to Vietnam and served until 1972. He subsequently worked for the U.S. Postal Service, from which he also retired. In later years, Babe was a patient at the Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Fayetteville, where he received excellent care from a dedicated staff. He was preceded in death by his loving and devoted wife, Esther; and his daughter, Judge Linda Faye Anderson. Surviving to cherish his memory and legacy are his children, Jessina Gray (Jim) of Madison, Ala., James Carlton Arrington (Ruby) of Goldsboro, Catherine W. LeBlanc of Fayetteville, Richard A. Watson (Shirley) of Los Angeles, Queen Esther Harper (Roosevelt) of Philadelphia, and Lennie Jean Portis (Lewis) of Philadelphia; 15 grandchildren; sister-in-law, Gladys Whitley; and other relatives and friends. Graveside services with full military honors will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, in Rockfish Memorial Park, Fayetteville. Visitation will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, at New Stoney Hill United Holy Church, 1003 N. Poplar St., Goldsboro, with the family present from 6 to 7 p.m. The family will receive friends at other times at the residence of his son, James Arrington, 114 Friendswood Drive, Goldsboro. The funeral cortege will depart the Arrington residence at 9 a.m. Thursday morning. Services entrusted to Haskins Funeral Home of Goldsboro.
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Published in Fayetteville Observer on Jan. 8, 2013