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PROFILE: AL ALDRIDGE: The long road from bovines to broadcasting

April 3, 2006

PROFILE AL ALDRIDGE The long road from bovines to broadcasting For Al Aldridge, local public affairs director for New York-based Bright House Networks, broadcasting has been his life-long passion. Aldridge, 62, joined the former Time Warner Cable in 1986 after serving 24 years in the Air Force in various roles throughout the world, from disk jockey to television newscaster and weatherman for the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service.

It was his last stint as superintendent of broadcast instruction at the Defense Information School at Fort Benjamin Harrison that brought the South Bendnative back to Indiana.

Aldridge's experiences as a young soldier in Vietnam form the basis for his new book called "Those Damn Flying Cows: How I Ended Up in Vietnam!" The book is available online at Amazon.comand Barnes & Noble and Border's Web sites.

The book's title refers to flying cargo in Vietnam-including cows.

"The Air Force would take cows to mountain villages and drop them off to supply the villagers with food and milk," Aldridge said. "Sometimes during the war, you couldn't land, so they would actually put parachutes on them and kick them out the back door."

Aldridge's photography is featured on the book's cover. And while flying cows may seem humorous, Aldridge says the book is mostly about a "young man who leaves home from high school, joins the military and ends up in Vietnam."

"When you're young and during a time of war, you don't have a role except what they tell you you have," Aldridge said. His first tour of duty was in 1965 when older, more seasoned military people were being killed in battle.

"My first tour in Vietnam was kind of a special project because they needed younger folks," Aldridge said. "I always said we were like cannon fodder [but] it's part of the military life-you understand that you might not make it back."

After two long careers, what are Aldridge's future plans? "I think I'm about ready for the bone yard," he joked. "I've been doing this job for a long time, and I think it's time now to watch my grandkids grow up." Aldridge and his wife Barbara have been married for 39 years and have three children and five grandchildren.

A recipient of numerous awards for his work in the cable television industry, Aldridge recently received one of only four national Public Affairs Achievement Awards from the Cable Television Public Affairs Association for his "outstanding contributions within cable television affairs" at the association's annual conference held in Washington, D.C.

Aldridge isn't finished writing. He's considering a sequel to "Those Damn Flying Cows" because many readers want to know what happened to the book's central character. He also plans to write a book called "The Funny Side of Cable" that he hopes to have out sometime this summer.

"I'll talk to people in the industry to get their funniest stories," Aldridge said. "There are a lot of humorous things that people who don't work in this industry never know."


Bright House Networks public affairs director Al Aldridge wrote a book based on his experiences in Vietnam.
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