While some may read that and paint him in some "less" of a light than the other astronauts, he was anything but incompetent. He was a test pilot, logging over 7,100 hours in a profession that doesn't forgive error. He was the fourth person to walk on the moon in the Ocean of Storms, in Apollo 12 under his test pilot instructor, Pete Conrad, no less. He, Pete, and Dick Gordon (all deceased, now) were probably the most tightly-knit crew of all that went to the moon, having all been friends beforehand. He also co-saved the mission of Apollo 12. When lightning rode the spacecraft’s contrail all the way up and down to Earth, all onboard electronics scrambled, causing them to fly blind. A (now-famous) flight controller named John Aaron issued a command to "try SCE to auxiliary". Astronauts train for a lot of situations, but nobody trained for that, let alone knew anything about this so-called “SCE” switch. But Alan did: He found it, flipped it, telemetry was restored, and they went to the moon.
Alan went on later to command Skylab 3, which set a world record at the time for 59 days in space. He also served as backup commander of the Apollo-Soyuz mission, which famously involved the US meeting up with its formal space-rival, Russia, for the first time.
Rest in peace, Captain.
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