Elaine A. Anderson was born in Galesville, Wisconsin, in 1926 and graduated from high school there in 1944. In later 1944 she moved to Washington, D.C., to work for the Casualty Department, where she typed letters of notification for the families of wounded, missing, and dead soldiers. She returned to Galesville in 1945 and worked in retail for four years.
Anderson enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in June of 1949. After basic training in Fort Lee, Virginia, she attended finance school in St. Louis, Missouri. She was assigned to the Army Chemical Center near Baltimore, Maryland, where she worked in the payroll department. In 1950 she was stationed in Bremerhaven, Germany, where she eventually became head of the payroll department. She was discharged soon after returning to the United States in October of 1952, with a final rank of staff sergeant.
Anderson worked briefly as an accountant in Wisconsin and at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida before settling in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she took a job with Pelton and Crane dental equipment company. She joined the U.S. Army Reserves in 1958 and remained in for the next ten years. Anderson retired from Pelton and Crane in 1990 after over thirty years with the company, and stayed active in the American Legion.