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Retired colonel who flew Air Force One on Nixon trips to China dies at 88 in W.Va.
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (AP) ' A retired Air Force colonel who piloted Air Force One for President Richard Nixon and flew Henry Kissinger on a historic secret mission to begin talks with China has died at his home in West Virginia. Ralph D. Albertazzie was 88.
Brown Funeral Home in Martinsburg confirmed the Monday death and planned to meet with Albertazzie's family Wednesday to discuss whether a service will be held.
Albertazzie attended West Virginia University on a football scholarship but quit to enlist in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He also served in both Korea and Vietnam.
He was assigned to pilot Air Force One around the time of Nixon's inauguration and was at the controls as Kissinger and Nixon made several trips to begin normalized relations with China.