Salute to our Resident Military Veterans

Don Aldrich

Don Aldrich was drafted into the army in December 1950 and served for a total 27 months. He started as a Military Police guard for the prison of troubled soldiers in New Brunswick, New Jersey before going overseas to Korea.

Don was captured by the Chinese soldiers on their way to the designated destination point while marching with his 2nd infantry division. The enemy soldier held him at gunpoint. He quickly grabbed a large rock, hit the Chinese soldier over the head, and had just enough time to escape.

When he returned base a familiar U.S. Army Captain interrogated him about the incident. Eventually Don was handpicked by President Eisenhower to be his personal guard while he was in Seoul, Korea. One day Don received a surprise letter from his sister that took a month by regular mail to get to him. It provided Don with some bad news. His father had died and he immediately wanted to return to the States. Don would like to personally thank the Salvation Army for helping him return sooner. He left Korea by ship crossing the Pacific to San Francisco.

He had to sleep in bunk beds five mattresses high, endure a cramped smelly space with no fresh shower water. Once Don arrived California, he hopped on the next train to Denver/Chicago. He finally reached his destination after 9 days of travel to meet up with his family. He said, “Travel was slow and difficult in those days”. Don worked for United Parcel Service and used the GI bill benefit to attend night school in Chicago.

Later in his occupational career he was given the opportunity to be President of the Western Ash Company in Phoenix. He relocated to Phoenix in 1978 and retired at the age of 72. Don we appreciate your service to our country, community, and family. Carry on good man!

Interviewed by T.S.M.