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HARDTARFER, ALAN E. August 1, 1941 to January 3, 2010 "This is Air Force One, carrying Henry Kissinger, do not fire." After hearing these words, LCDR Alan Hardtarfer, the Air Picture Officer on the USS Jouett in the Tonkin Gulf during the latter days of the Vietnam war, took his finger off the firing button thereby narrowly avoiding his fifteen minutes of fame. Dr. Kissinger was flying to North Vietnam to negotiate for release of the POWs and the pilots had neglected to transmit the proper ID codes to identify the plane. When Alan, following protocol, tuned the ship's radar to sight a missile on the "unidentified contact," Air Force One's electronic counter measures board "lit up like a Christmas tree" and prompted the pilots to quickly correct their actions. Alan, a longtime San Diego resident, born in Kansas City, Missouri , August 1, 1941, died January 3, 2010, at home in San Diego from congestive heart failure due to diabetic complications. He considered himself a Kansan, graduating from the University of Kansas in 1964 with a degree in international relations, on a Navy ROTC scholarship. After graduation he had a very successful but short career as an accomplished "ship driver" in the Navy earning multiple honors including the Navy Commendation and Navy Achievement Medals. After "resigning his commission" in the early 70's, he used his GI bill to go to SDSU and just kept going and going. Eventually, he had nearly enough credits for a Doctorate but didn't even officially get his Masters because he never completed his thesis due to being hired by the City of San Diego. Alan retired as a Senior Management Analyst in 1999, due to increasing health problems, married for the first time at age 58 and settled down in Mission Hills. (SDU-T Passages, October 15, 2006). Alan played offensive left tackle for the Lawrence High School football team ('57-'59), a team nationally recognized by Life Magazine for a record string of games won and still bore the scar on his hand where early Charger quarterback John Hadl's cleat punctured it during a high school game play. Last September he was able to travel back to Lawrence for their 50th reunion. Until his health precluded it, Alan was very active in civic and Catholic organizations: Knights of Columbus, Serra Club, Confirmation Instructor, Lay Pastor, San Diego City Retired Employees Assoc., and the California Women in Government Assoc. (CWIG). Alan, known and admired for his cheerfulness and stoicism in the face of mounting physical disabilities, will be remembered by his many friends and family at a memorial service at St. Vincent de Paul Church on Friday, January 22, 2010, at 11 a.m. He is survived by his wife, Janet Cooper, his 97 year old mother, Margaret and sister, AnnMarie (Jim) Wills of Colorado and a nephew, Brian (Anne) Vermillion of California. He also leaves a grandniece, Katie and grandnephew, Jacob also of California. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St . Vincent de Paul School Scholarship Fund, 4077 Ibis St., San Diego, CA 92103.

Published in The San Diego Union Tribune on Jan. 12, 2010
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