Alfred Serrato was born on April 15, 1943 at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange. El Modena - a small informal township in Orange, Ca where his parents attended segregated schools as a fact of life.
Al came from Orange County’s earliest settlers. His grandfather was a cattle rancher in Garden Grove. Al spent his teen years surfing at Trestles and Dana. He loved all music and attended his first opera at the age of 18 at the Pasadena Playhouse. Arriving in his Dad’s Ford pickup, he emerged beaming in his rented black tuxedo. Al graduated from Orange High School, briefly attending Fullerton Jr. College. Al’s first job was working as an moil hand roughneck. His personality at the time was “goofy.” Surrounded by tough-minded, salt of the earth workers, he credited them for changing him from a boy into a man.
Shortly thereafter, he joined the Army to fulfill his patriotic duty- signing up for Officer Candidate School. Ft. Benning , Georgia. While at boot camp, Serrato was named battalion Soldier of the Month. Graduating in 1966 as an Infantry Officer. He was selected as a TAC Officer at OCS, then sent to the US Army’s School of the America’s - Panama Canal, where he earned the Jungle Expert patch. He was sent to Vietnam, Company A, 1st of the 5th Mech, 25th Inf. Div. where he fought many battles and earned the coveted Combat Infantry Badge award as well as the rare Soldier’s Medal for Heroism. Temporarily assigned to the Judge Advocate General’s office as a Defense Counsel, He was a sought after Defense Counsel having never lost a case. He volunteered to serve
with Military Assistance Commander Vietnam (MACV) near the North Vietnam border. When Serrato returned to Orange County he was hospitalized with severe PTSD. He overcame his demons and worked for six years at Dunn & Bradstreet (D & B) as a financial analyst. He attended night classes at California State University, Fullerton, earning his degree in Chicano Studies.
Offered a position by D & B that would have fast/tracked him to become manager for an entire country in South America, Serrato opted instead for graduate studies in management and social science at UC Irvine that could lead to a Ph. D.
FAMILY. He was married to Lily Serrato on Oct 24, 1970. They shared 50 wonderful years together. He is also survived by his son Alfred c. Serrato, Jr, his granddaughter Kobi Serrato and stepsons Benjamin and Edward Voll
He served on a quasi Presidential Think Tank during Ronald Reagan’s presidency and developed proposals for expediting the Americanization of recently arrived Vietnamese refugees housed at Camp Pendleton. He was a consultant to the O. C. Police Chiefs Assn, speaking on the Vietnamese perception of law enforcement.
Al sat on the Board of the Bowers Museum for many years. He worked as a museum consultant in later years and traveled throughout China selecting artifacts for future museum exhibitions. Unknown to most, Al was an Asia expert and collector of Asian antiquities. He was fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Thai and Spanish.
A world traveler, he rode elephants and giant tortoises in Thailand, wrestled with iguanas in Panama, rode wild rivers in Indonesia, did the running of the bulls in Pamplona, tango danced in Argentina, rode camels in the Gobi desert, lived with former cannibals in the jungles of Irian Jaya, outran a toxic spitting Komodo dragon.
He served on
B. SA Housing Commission
C. S. A. City Councilman
D. Worked on his Ph. D at UCI intending to be an academic scholar when surprisingly elected to city council.
◦ E. Al was selected as a Fulbright US Scholar to the African nation of Namibia, in a management exchange with the US for the 2010-2011 year.
F. Pattaya City Expats Club -!Treasurer, largest global expat organization
MILITARY : A decorated US ARMY combat warrior, He had a distinguished military background. Al attended Officer Candidate School at Ft. Benning, Georgia - the only Hispanic from his class of 1966. He was commissioned as a U. S. Army Infantry Unit Commander. Upon commissioning, He was selected as a TAC officer at Officer Candidate School to train applicants to become officers. Following his class graduation, Al was temporarily assigned to the Judge Advocate Generals Office where he received a rare letter of commendation for his successful skills as Defense Counsel(He never lost a case) He was selected for specialized training in jungle warfare tactics at the US Army School of the Americas - Panama Canal, Ft. Gulick. Upon Al’s arrival in Vietnam, Al served as Infantry Platoon Leader and ExecutiveOfficer during his assignment with the 25th Infantry Division. Al was also appointed as Battalion Defense Counsel.
Later, Al was selected as a military advisor to the Vietnamese Popular Forces with Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) near the North Vietnam border where he conducted numerous covert military operations wearing the uniform of a South Vietnamese Officer.
1. Soldiers Medal for Heroism
2. Combat Infantry Badge
3. Presidential Unit Citation
4. Vietnamese Cross of Galantry
5. Vietnamese Civil Defense Medal
6. National Defense Service Medal
7. Jungle expert Patch, Panama
B. UKELELE PLAYER
His dedication to Veterans was shown by his 40 years of service with Veteran organizations.
He was a skilled organizer of Veteran Associations. His drive, keen business sense, and excellent leadership skills helped to propel many of the associations that he lead.
Commander: He chose to give his time to the Veteran community. Commander American G I Forum, District Commander Veterans of Foreign Wars,Thailand/Cambodia,
Finance Officer Santa Ana American Legion, member Military Officers Assn. Al was selected as National Commander of the highly prestigious Combat Infantry Association. Worked tirelessly on behalf of military vets/widows as a Service Officer.
Serrato was especially proud of his 10 years representing U. S. ambassadors in Thailand as Embassy Warden.
Always adventurous, Al traveled the world visiting 37 countries. He trekked through the jungles of Sumatra, walked atop the crusts of active volcanos in Java, lived with canibals in Irian Jaya, ran with the bulls in Pamplona, and lived in asia for 15 years. Fluent in Thai, Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
A celebration of life will be held on ....
Al brought his senior Management skills, creativity, passion and energy to assisting Veterans and their families.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Alfred Charles Serrato, please visit our floral store.