Our veterans who served our country: LTC John Allen Albree, USA (Ret)

Published 5:17 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2015

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Personal Legacies: Our Veterans Who Served Our Country

Many veterans were wounded in combat during their service. Columbus resident, John Allen Albree, says he was fortunate that, after his injury healed, he was able to continue to serve. Born in Boston, Mass. in 1928, John and his four sisters lived in Concord with his parents, George Norman and Grace Mara Albree, until 1938 when their house was damaged by hurricane. The family moved to Winchester, Mass. where John completed his junior year of high school before moving to Northfield, Vt. in 1945 to attend Norwich University, the oldest military college in country.

“My dad wanted me to get some college in case I was drafted for World War II and their Corps of Cadets and ROTC program made it available for me to complete my senior year of high school and freshman year of college at the same time. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was my commencement speaker, handed me my diploma in 1946. That September, I enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps for a two-year commitment in order to get the rest of college paid for under GI Bill. When I completed my enlistment in 1948, I returned to Norwich University as an English major and married Phyllis Hoffert three months before I graduated in 1951.

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“I learned at Norwich and in the Marine Corps that I enjoyed military discipline and camaraderie with fellow soldiers. Upon graduation, I was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Regular Army, Armor branch and went to Fort Knox, Ky. for basic officer’s training at the Armored School. I was also a Tactical Officer at Officer Candidate School (OCS) at Fort Knox before volunteering for duty in Korea in 1952.

“In Korea, I was assigned as a tank platoon leader in 72nd Tank Battalion of Second Infantry Division. During my third day in combat, I was wounded in the groin by fragments from an enemy mortar round and was evacuated to a MASH hospital before being transported to a Swedish Red Cross hospital in Pusan, Korea. After 45 days, I was able to return to my former tank platoon, but at the end of the year, I was transferred to Ujongbou, Korea to serve as the Aide-de-Camp to General John K. Waters at the First Corps Headquarters. This was a very prestigious assignment and, although I was out of combat area, we visited them often.

“When the General returned to the states in 1953, I was reassigned to Fort Hood, Texas as a Tank Company Commander. A year later, I served in the 14th Armored Cavalry regiment in Germany. During that time, I was one of the first three Americans to attend and complete the Belgium Army parachute school. In 1958, I attended the U.S. Army airborne school in Augsburg, Germany while I was stationed in Brussels, Belgium as an Aide to General Alva Fitch. Returning to the States and, from 1960 to 1963, I taught military science in the ROTC military department at Norwich. Our son, John Allen Albree, II was born during that time.

“I volunteered to serve in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968 at the J3 Military Assistance Command, Vietnam (MACV) Headquarters. After that, I was transferred to Fort Ord in Monterey, Calif. to serve as a Battalion Commander for two years. In 1970, I was reassigned to the Army General Staff at the Pentagon and retired in June of 1973, after almost 26 years. It was a privilege and honor to serve. If you like the self discipline of the military lifestyle, there is nothing better.”

The Albree’s were living in Northern Virginia when John retired at age 45. He became a licensed real estate agent and eventually a broker and lived in the Outer Banks at Kitty Hawk, N.C. before moving to Tryon Estates in 2003. Today, if you are looking for John, you will most likely find him on the golf course at the Tryon Country Club.

If you are a veteran and would you like to share about your experience in the military please contact Robin Edgar at 2robinedgar@gmail.com or call The Tryon Daily Bulletin at 828-859-9151.