Donald Joseph Alser

Colonel Donald Joseph Alser (20), United States Air Force (Retired), 85, died in Newport Beach, California following a brief coma from a blood cancer condition, on 19 September 2017.  Don was born in Los Angeles on 27 February 1932.  His parents were Joseph and Florence Alser.  The family later moved to Pasadena where Don attended John Muir High School and John Muir College.  Entering the U.S. Naval Academy in June 1952 ,he participated in football (quarterback) and track, winning the Heptagonal (Ivy League and Army) javelin events in three successive years.  After graduating with distinction and commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, Don married his Pasadena sweetheart, Sandra Jeanne Gravier, in the Naval Academy Chapel on 1 June 1956. 


Don’s Air Force career specialized in intelligence, space and missile systems, with numerous important assignments for which he received several decorations.  He attended the Air Force Institute of Technology earning a Master of Science degree in Aeronautical Engineering, and the University of Southern California earning a Master of Science degree in Systems Management. Don’s Air Force duties included assignment as a Launch Officer with the 38th Tactical missile Wing at Sembach Air Base in Germany, Project Officer at the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory at Edwards Air Force Base in California, Project Manager in the Titan III systems Program Office in Los Angeles, and Deputy Director in the Office of the Secretary of the Air force Space Systems Division in the Pentagon.  He completed his Air Force Career in developing and operating Intelligence Space Systems as a Program Director and Deputy Director for the Secretary of the Air force Special Projects at Los Angeles Air Force Base.  Don’s awards include: Department Of Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal. He retired from the United States Air Force in 1981.


Following his military service, Don accepted a position with TRW in Los Angeles as a Manager of Strategic Systems.  He retired from TRW in 1992.  


Don was an avid outdoors-man.  In full retirement, he was able to enjoy time with his family that included hiking and fishing in the Sierra Nevada.  


Don is survived by his wife Sandra, one son, one daughter, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild.  Memorial Services and Burial will take place at Arlington National Cemetery, at a date to be determined.