Retired June 1, 1991.
Lieutenant General Donald O. Aldridge is vice commander in chief, Headquarters Strategic Air Command Offutt Air Base, Neb.
General Aldridge was born in Solo Mo., in 1932. He received a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Nebraska and studied international relations at Creighton University Graduate School. He completed Squadron Officer School in 1963, Air Command and Staff College in 1972, and the National War College in 1977, all as a distinguished graduate.
He enlisted in the air Force in April 1951 and completed Russian language training as a distinguished graduate in June 1955. While serving as a Russian linguist, he was appointed Officer Candidate School, where he was a distinguished graduate and recipient of the school leadership award. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in March 1958.
After graduating from primary flying training at Moore Air Base, Texas, and basic pilot training at Greenville Air Force Base, Miss., General Alridge completed B-47 combat crew training in June 1960. He then flew B-47s as a copilot and later was an aircraft commander for the 44th and 68th Bombardment wings at Chennault Air Force Base, La.
In January 1963 he entered B-52 combat crew training and, upon completion, flew B-52s as a co-pilot, aircraft commander and instructor pilot with the 17th Bombardment Wing at Wright-Patterson Air Force, Ohio. While at Wright-Patterson, General Aldridge completed Squadron Officer School and the Central Flight Instructors Course at Castle Air Force Base, Calif.
The General then was assigned to the 93rd Bombardment Wing at Castle in February 1967 as a B-52 simulator instructor pilot. In August 1967 he became an instructor pilot in the B-52 combat crew training school. In October 1968 he departed for four months' temporary duty at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, as a crew control officer with combat crews participating in B-52 and KC-135 missions in Southeast Asia, and later as a B-52 "Charlie" launch control officer. He returned to Castle in February 1969 as B-52 emergency war order study officer and later became chief of the Combat Operations Branch. In late 1970 he assumed additional duty as chief of the Non-Tactical Standardization Branch.
In June 1972 General Aldridge graduated from Air Command and Staff College and was assigned to the 43rd Strategic Wing, Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, as chief, non-tactical operations. In September 1972 he became the wing assistant deputy commander for operations. During Linebacker II operations the general was airborne commander of a 12-aircraft B-52D raid against Hanoi. From February to August 1973 he served as executive officer, 43rd Strategic Wing and the 72nd Bombardment Wing, Provisional. He then became special assistant and executive officer to the commander of the 303rd Consolidated Maintenance Wing, Provisional.
General Aldridge was assigned to the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, Offutt, in November 1973 and served successively as operations planner, planning team chief, nuclear options planning officer and assistant chief of force application. During this period he developed the planning approach to implement a major change to U.S. nuclear policy. As an additional duty he briefed all single integrated operational plan reports to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and to the unified and specified commands.
After graduating from the National War College in June 1977, General Aldridge reported to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., as assistant chief, Strategic Forces Division, Directorate of Plans, Office of the Deputy Chief of staff, Plans and Operations. He became deputy assistant director of plans for joint matters in April 1978 and then served as deputy assistant director of plans for joint and National Security Council matters. From March 1979 to April 1980 he served as special assistant to the director of the Joint staff for joint matters, Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He then was named deputy director for plans and requirements, Defense Mapping Agency, Washington, D.C. In June 1981 he became the agency's deputy director.
General Aldridge was appointed deputy U.S. representative to the military committee, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Brussels, Belgium, in September 1981. In June 1983 he returned to Washington, D.C., as Joint Chiefs of Staff representative to the Strategic Arms Reduction talks with the Soviet Union. After attending the Shultz-Gromyko meeting of January 1985 in Geneva he continued as Joint Chiefs of Staff representative for strategic offensive systems in the new nuclear and space talks with the Soviet Union in Washington, D.C., and Geneva. In April 1986 he was assigned the additional duty of deputy chief negotiator for strategic systems. In October 1986 he moved to Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., as commander of SAC's 1st Strategic Aerospace Division. He assumed his present command in September 1988.
The general is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours and 35 B-52 combat missions in Southeast Asia. His military decorations and awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, and Army Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to lieutenant general Oct. 1, 1988, with same date of rank.