Charles Warren Aldrich – Captain, United States Navy

From a contemporary press report:

Retired Navy Captain C. W. Aldrich of Encinitas, California, highly decorated for bravery during World War II and a former supervisor with the county Department of Social Services, died December 20, 1990,  in Scripps Memorial Hospital of complications following cardiac surgery. He was 82.

He was born in Santa Cruz, California,  and graduated from the Naval Academy in 1931. Before the United States entered World War II, he served as gunnery officer on the Mayo, one of the destroyers providing escort service to British merchant marine vessels in the Atlantic and North Sea. Later, he was executive officer of the destroyer Bailey in the Aleutians and then was commanding officer of the destroyer Dale. In 1944 he commanded the destroyer Massey, which was part of the sea defense off Okinawa where U.S. ships were under frequent kamikaze attack.

He was awarded the Navy Cross for “extraordinary heroism during action against enemy forces at Okinawa.” The Massey shot down nine enemy planes and assisted in the downing of others. Captain Aldrich also was awarded the Bronze Star for “courage under fire and devotion to duty” as commander of a destroyer during invasions of Eniwetok, Saipan and Guam and during raids of Palau, Yap, Woleia, Truk and Ponape in 1945.

His final assignment before he retired in 1960 was commander of the Naval Receiving Station in San Diego. After leaving the Navy, Captain Aldrich earned his teaching credential at San Diego State University and taught for a brief time. He moved to Encinitas more than 20 years ago. He joined the supervisory staff in the county Department of Social Services, from which he retired in 1973.

Captain Aldrich was married to the late Ena Collier Aldrich and then to the late Pauline “Polly” Guida Aldrich. Survivors include a son and a daughter, Charles Jr. and Patricia; a stepson, Stanley Guida; and four grandchildren. Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Unitarian Fellowship, 1036 Solana Drive, Solana Beach. Burial, with
full military honors, will be January 25, 1991, in Arlington National Cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be sent to North County Scholarship Foundation, (in  Memory of C. W. Aldrich, husband of Polly Guida Aldrich), in care of Betty Billin,  02-22 Vista Campana North, Oceanside, Calif. 920566.

CAPT Charles W. Aldrich, U.S.N.
Citation: Navy Cross
War: World War II

CAPTAIN CHARLES W. ALDRICH, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Commanding Officer of the United States Ship MASSEY during operations against the enemy in the Okinawa area from 2 May to 24 June 1945. During this period, his ship performed the vital and hazardous duty of Fighter Director ship on Radar Picket Station for a total of twenty-five days.

Under constant threat of enemy attacks and subjected to almost continuous alerts, his heroic leadership maintained his crew at a high peak of efficiency. On 6 June 1945, the unit of which the MASSEY was part, was subjected to coordinated suicide attack by two large groups of planes. By his fearlessness, calmness, and tactical skill, he was able to prevent any damage to the other ships of the unit by maneuvering around them and directing fire from his ship in such a manner that it meterially aided in the destruction of eight of the attacking planes. His conduct and performance of duty were an inspiration to those under him and were at all times in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Captain Aldrich joined the Legion of Valor in 1988 and resided in California.

United States Navy
DATE OF BIRTH: 08/24/1908
DATE OF DEATH: 12/20/1990


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