William R. Anderson graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1942 and served in the United States Navy until 1962. He participated in eleven World War II submarine combat patrols in the Pacific and was awarded the Bronze Star and other combat awards. Anderson was the commanding officer of the Nautilus, the first atomic submarine, from 1957 to 1959. He also served as assistant to Vice Admiral H.G. Rickover; was a consultant to President Kennedy for the National Service Corps, 1963; and was elected to four terms in the U.S. Congress. Before his death in 2007, he was a resident of Leesburg, Virginia.