Richard A. Eldridge, a Bourne native who spent 33 years in the US Navy, died on June 21 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was 88.
Mr. Eldridge was sworn in as a naval aviation cadet in 1943 after graduating from Bourne High School, where he played on the basketball team.
A decorated fighter pilot and test pilot, he chased submarines during the Korean War. He also served three tours in Vietnam, including two as a pilot and a third as a navigator aboard the USS Hornet, an aircraft carrier.
As navigator on the Hornet, he helped to recover the first Apollo test capsule at sea. He also served with squadrons aboard the aircraft carriers USS Ranger and USS Yorktown.
Later, Mr. Eldridge served as director of the Atlantic Fleet for the Naval Aviation Safety Center in Norfolk, Virginia. He logged more than 6,200 flight hours and executed 732 carrier landings over the course of his Navy career, retiring with the rank of captain in 1975.
After leaving the Navy he worked for QED Systems, where he served as program manager for logistical and safety contracts until his retirement in 1991.
In addition to flying, genealogy was among Mr. Eldridge’s hobbies.
Mr. Eldridge leaves his daughter, Devon E. Jercinovic of Albuquerque, New Mexico; three grandchildren and numerous cousins.
He was predeceased by his wife, Ann (Tingle) Eldridge.
Ennichement with full honors will take place on Friday, August 8, at 11 AM at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.