Navy Lt. Cmdr. Thomas Patrick Anderson, 36, who flew more than 200 combat missions during the Vietnam conflict, died Saturday when his plane crashed during a training exercise near Sicily.

He was operations officer of Carrier Air Wing 17 based aboard the aircraft carrier Forrestal, serving with the U.S. 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea.

The crash occurred during a dive-bombing exercise off the southeast coast of Sicily. Its cause is under Navy investigation.

Cmdr. Anderson was the son of retired Navy Adm. George W. Anderson Jr., who was chief of naval operations from 1961 to 1963.

Cmdr. Anderson was born in Washington. He was a graduate of the Severn School in Annapolis and of Duke University.

After being designated a naval aviator in 1966, he was ordered to Southeast Asia where he became a member of Heavy Attack Squadron 113 aboard the carrier Enterprise.

During his two years of combat he earned the Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross and 19 Air Medals.

He joined Carrier Air Wing 17 in March 1978.

His survivors include his wife, Hildegard; his father and stepmother, Mary Lee Anderson, of Washington; a brother, George W. III, of Palo Alto, Calif.; a sister, Mrs. Daniel F. Coughlin, of London, England, and a stepsister, Mrs. David M. Abshire, of Alexandria.

The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to The Society of Sponsors of the United States Navy.