Obituary, Alfred W. “Hap” Chandler

Chandler, Captain Alfred W. “Hap” (USN, Ret.) Born to RADM Alfred W. and Ruth (Jenkins) Chandler on December 15, 1923, Captain Alfred W. “Hap” Chandler, Jr. (USN Ret.), 89, a pilot’s pilot, loving husband, father, grandfather, and entrepreneur, passed away peacefully on January 27, 2013. Almost 70 years ago Capt. Chandler enlisted in the U.S. Navy to fight in World War II –much to his father’s chagrin, since he had earned an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, where his father was the Senior Dentist on the campus. After boot camp, Capt. Chandler accepted an appointment to the Navy’s Aviation Cadet Program, earning his wings in 1942. He shipped out to the Pacific as a replacement pilot in fighter squadrons VF-1 and VF-5 aboard the carrier USS Yorktown (CV-10) and in VF-13 aboard the USS Franklin (CV-13). While aboard the Franklin he had the dubious distinction of being blown out of his airplane when a Japanese kamikaze aircraft hit the carrier. Capt. Chandler saw action at Truk, Palau, Hollandia, Clark Field in the Philippines (where he was credited with shooting down a Japanese fighter), Saipan, Rota, Guam, Okinawa, and the Mariana Islands. For his service in World War II, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross twice, and the Air Medal six times. Other notable highlights in Capt. Chandler’s Navy career include his selection as the first American exchange pilot with the Royal Navy, flying jet fighters with 803 Squadron aboard the HMS Eagle (during which he survived a ditching in the English Channel); as a test pilot at the Naval Air Test Center, Patuxent Naval Air Station, MD; as Commander of fighter squadron VF-114 aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63); as navigator of the USS Ticonderoga (CV-14) and Executive Officer of that ship during the Tonkin Gulf incident; as the Commanding Officer of Detachment Charlie in Saigon where he coordinated operations between the Navy’s Seventh Fleet and the Seventh Air Force, earning a second Legion of Merit; and as Commanding Officer of Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego when it was home to the Navy’s famous TOPGUN Fighter Weapons School. Capt. Chandler retired from the Navy after 33 years of service, during which time he also earned an MBA from George Washington University. After his retirement, Capt. Chandler channeled his energy towards real estate, investing in properties throughout San Diego. Later he applied his visionary entrepreneurship to the city’s emerging Gaslamp District, building the first newly constructed live/work lofts with underground parking. His leisure time was spent playing tennis and golf and traveling. He and his wife Nancy Ann spent many enjoyable hours in the company of their wonderful friends. He was a member of the Golden Eagles, an elite group of distinguished pioneer Naval Aviators. Ever the consummate aviator, Capt. Chandler was proud of his ability to maintain the qualification necessary to fly his Citation II business jet as a single pilot until just recently. However, as safety-conscious as he was skilled, he recognized the need to always be accompanied by a qualified co-pilot as he advanced in years. Captain Chandler was preceded in death by his parents and his first wife Marjorie, and is survived by his wife of 32 years, Nancy Ann (Wynne); daughters Connie Englert and husband Jerry, Ruth Chandler, Alison Figi and husband Eric of San Diego; stepchildren Howell Wynne and his wife Amy of San Diego and Nancy Saustad and her husband David of Dallas; and sister Jane Wiegand of Bethesda, MD. He is also survived by eight grandchildren and two nephews. A Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, January 31 at 3:00 p.m. at the Church of the Incarnation, 3966 McKinney Avenue, Dallas, TX 75204. A reception immediately following will be held at the Brook Hollow Golf Club, 8301 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75235. In lieu of flowers, donations in Captain Chandler’s name can be made to the Frontiers of Flight Museum in Dallas or the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. For more information, please visit

Published in Dallas Morning News from January 29 to January 30, 2013

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