Monday, June 13, 2016

MAJOR ALDEN P. RIGBY ~ Fairview Utah

Alden Rigby

 Major Alden P. Rigby 

a cousin to my Dad

 Major Alden P. Rigby 

Posted 6/28/2007  

United States Air Force

Major Al Rigby was born in Fairview, Utah, on 4 January 1923 and attended Brigham Young University. He joined the Army Air Forces in January 1943 and graduated from Cadets at Spence Field, Georgia, that December. He graduated from P-51 transition training at Bartow, Florida, in April 1944, then served as an instructor pilot for two months before being assigned as a P-51 pilot with the 487th Fighter Squadron of the 352nd Fighter Group based in Bodney, England--the famous "Blue-nosed Bastards of Bodney." He flew 76 combat missions over Europe, for a total of 272 combat hours, and shot down 5 German aircraft in aerial combat. Four of those kills came in just 25 minutes on one day, 1 January 1945, over his forward airstrip near Asch, Belgium, during the Battle of the Bulge. He is also credited with destroying many enemy trains and barges, as well as at least one aircraft, on the ground during strafing missions. 

During World War II, Rigby flew 76 combat missions over Europe, totaling 272 hours. He shot down five German aircraft in aerial combat. Four of those kills came in less than a half hour on Jan. 1, 1945 as part of the famous Battle of the Bulge when Rigby and his crew were attacked by surprise on a runway in Asch, Belgium.

Rigby was decorated with the Silver Star, the Air Medal with 7 oak leaf clusters, and the Distinguished Unit Citation. He served three years active duty stateside during the Korean War with the 33rd Air Division of Air Defense Command. He served 25 years in the Utah Air National Guard, retiring in 1979 with the rank of Major. He also worked for 25 years as an air traffic control supervisor at the Federal Aviation Administration's Salt Lake Center. 
Major Rigby

One of the Greats of that "Greatest Generation", Alden Peter Rigby, Maj. USAF Ret., passed into history May 3, 2015 at his home in Bountiful UT. He was born January 4, 1923 to Martin and Elva Rigby in Fairview UT. He married the love of his life and eternal companion of 73 years, Eleen Barker, June 4, 1942 in the Manti Temple.
He served his country heroically as an ace fighter pilot flying P-51s in the ETO, earning the Silver Star, DFC, Air Medal with 21 OLC along with many other awards.
He served again during the Korean War with the Utah National Guard and retired from the service in 1978. He was a supervisor with the Federal Aviation Admin., and was responsible for setting up the air traffic grid for the western U.S. In 2010, in recognition of his war service and many contributions in the field of aviation, Alden was inducted into the Utah Aviation Hall of Fame at Hill AFB.

He served in many church positions including missions with Eleen to India/Sri Lanka and the Jerusalem Center in Israel. He was a sealer in the Salt Lake and Bountiful Temples for 30 years, performing over 2000 marriages. He valued his unwavering testimony of the Gospel and was an example to all. He leaves behind a legacy of much love, kindness, hard work, selflessness, generosity, humility, and so much more.
Alden has friends without number from all around the world and the Rigby home was open to many visitors.
Alden is survived by his wife, Eleen and their four children, Jerilyn (Al Drummond), Larry (Susan), Kevin (Estelle), and Greg (Faye), 25 grandchildren and 67 great-grandchildren.
Funeral services were held May 8,(VE Day) 2015 at the Oak Hills Ward, 455 S. 1200 E. Bountiful, UT. at 11:00am.

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