His young son, Butch, asked, “How’d you get to be such a fighter, Pop?”
Alfred [May 4, 2014] explained that growing up during the Depression, his family moved a lot. Being the “new kids,” he and his older brother found themselves back-to-back, fighting themselves out of playgrounds a lot! Good at it he became, becoming a hand-to-hand combat, jujitsu and rifle instructor at the Quantico, and Camp Lejeune, home base for the USMC! He also trained Navy Corpsmen, an activity he found most rewarding. As he put it, “helping to save the savers!”
Al met another Philadelphia Marine, and helped him form the Edson Raider Battalion. This group was the forerunner of all our special forces we are so familiar with today. Okinawa, Tulagi, Guadalcanal, The Solomon Islands, and the New Georgia Campaigns became familiar names back home. Al saw action on some ten islands, notable was the fabled and appropriately named “Battle of Edson’s Ridge,” a heroic defense at Guadalcanal, against overwhelming numbers of attacking Japanese troops.
He was severely wounded toward the end of the New Georgia Campaign, and was told to prepare to die. His beloved Jane, a naval officer he met at Quantico, intervened with Naval Medical Command, and had him returned to the States for needed surgery, the beginning of some 25 morbid operations which would extend, and occur over his lifetime. He and Jane were married in a full-dress, complete with sabers ceremony, near the conclusion of their military careers. Jane was stationed at St. Albans Hospital, NYC, and thus Al was able to recuperate and begin his long rehabilitation.
The GI Bill provided college education, leading to employment with the Federal Government. He became the leader of the Rocket Catapult and Air-Crew escape Systems Group, or as he used to say, “A Rocket Engineer!” They were based at the Frankford Arsenal, Philadelphia, PA. During the early Sixties, his work involved heavy travel to testing facilities around the country.
As an active member of the Presbyterian Church, he served as Deacon, Elder, and Member of the Session. As an active Mason in the original Ben Franklin Consistory he rose to 32nd Degree. He was also a Shriner, belonging to LU-LU temple also in Philadelphia. When he moved out West, he was appointed a traveling Ambassador of that Temple. He also belonged to Zelzah Shrine Temple of Las Vegas.
Upon retirement, he and Jane moved to Lake Havasu, AZ, where he fulfilled his dream to build from scratch, his own home. Complete with three fireplaces, he did all the work himself, only hiring helpers for concrete pours and framing. Increased doctor’s visits, for both, led them to move to Las Vegas. The final move will be to the Veteran’s Cemetery in Boulder City, where Jane has been waiting since 2002. Ironically he will be buried on her birthday, May 9, 2014.
He is survived by sister, Susan Koran, Philadelphia; son, Alfred R.; grandson, Devin Alfred; granddaughter, Chandler Elizabeth. Devin aspires to be a Marine fighter pilot, and was nominated to the USNA, and the USAFA. He has been accepted to the Citadel on full scholarship, and Chandler is finishing her second year of college to become a Navy nurse. Their mother is Elizabeth Kelly-Camlin, of Stamford, CT.