In Lieu of Flowers
by Nancy Kilborn for Aubrey Pridgen, Honored by Wreaths Across America
February 3, 1925 - August 27, 2019
Aubrey Woodrow Pridgen, age 94, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 and joined his beloved wife Annetta on what would have been their 71st wedding anniversary.
Born February 3, 1925 in Snow Hill, North Carolina, Aubrey was the third child of Holden and Anna Hart Pridgen. He worked on the family farm and drove the local school bus until he graduated from Hookerton High School in 1942. He left Greene County and went to Newport News, Virginia to work in the Shipyard for two years where he helped build warships. He entered the United States Navy in 1944 where he was assigned to the USS Battleship West Virginia. He was aboard for all WWII campaigns in the Pacific Theater after the West Virginia was rebuilt from the attack at Pearl Harbor. Campaigns included Leyte Gulf, Suriago Strait, Mindoro, Luzon, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. Aubrey witnessed the raising of the "Stars & Stripes" on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima and he was aboard for the signing of the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay on Sept 2, 1945. He was discharged from the Navy with a rank of Fire Controlman 2nd class on May 2, 1946.
After the war, Aubrey continued his formal education by attending East Carolina University (ECU) where he received his BS and MA degrees. At ECU he met his future wife Annetta Cavanaugh in the registrar's office and they would be married three months later in 1948. Aubrey was a teacher and then a principal in North Carolina public schools from 1950-1956. In January 1957, he began a second military career which continued for twenty five years. He commissioned in the Army Medical Service Corps with his first tour of duty at Ft Sam Houston, Texas and two years later was assigned duty with the 16th Field Hospital in Vitry Le Francois, France. When French President Charles de Gaulle requested US forces to leave France in May 1959, Aubrey then transferred from the Army to the Air Force and was assigned to USAF Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany until 1963