Dickson Wellington Alderton was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on 14 June 1922, son of George S. and Virginia N. (Green) Alderton. He attended Michigan State University at East Lansing, for a year, prior to entering the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, on appointment from his native state in 1941. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on 7 June 1944, with the Class of 1945 (accelerated course due to World War II), he subsequently advanced in rank to that of Captain, to date from 1 July 1965.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1944, he served in USS Indiana (BB-58) until September 1945, then had flight training at the Naval Air Stations, Pensacola, Florida, and Corpus Christi, Texas. Designated Naval Aviator on 7 March 1947, he then joined Fighter Squadron TWO-E and in July 1948 transferred to Composite Squadron TWELVE. He was an Instructor at the Combat Information School, Glenview, Illinois, from April 1951 until April 1953, after which he had duty afloat as Combat Information Center Assistant on board USS Oriskany (CVA-34). Detached from that attack aircraft carrier in August 1954, he was next assigned to Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED NINETY-TWO.
In December 1955 he became a Project Pilot at the Naval Air Facility, China Lake, California, where he remained until August 1957. He next had instruction at the Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, and during the period July 1958 to March 1959 attended the Air Intelligence School, Washington, DC. Following an assignment, which extended to June 1960 as Commanding Officer of Fighter Squadron ONE HUNDRED NINETY-THREE, he joined USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) as Combat Information Center Officer. In July 1963 he assumed command of Carrier Air Wing NINETEEN; was detached in March 1964 for duty as Program Director for the A-6A and A-7A in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, Navy Department, Washington, DC, and in August 1965 reported for instruction at the National War College, Washington, DC.
He became Commanding Officer of USS Vega (AF-59) in August 1966 and was entitled to the Ribbon for and a facsimile of the Meritorious Unit Commendation awarded that store ship for duty in Southeast Asia. In November 1967 he joined the Staff of Commander Carrier Division ONE as Operations Officer. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal and is entitled to the Ribbon for and a facsimile of the Meritorious Unit Commendation awarded USS Ranger, flagship of Commander Carrier Division ONE.
In December 1968 he was ordered to duty as Commanding Officer of USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31).
In addition to the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon with star, Captain Alderton had the American Defense Service Medal; American Campaign Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with four stars; World War II Victory Medal; Navy Occupation Service Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; Korean Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal. He also had the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.