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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Captain Allen retires

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

Captain David L. Allen, USN (ret.). Photo submitted.
David Allen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Allen of Aurelia, recently retired from a 29-year career in the United States Navy. At his retirement ceremony in Champaign, Illinois on August 26, guest speaker Rear Admiral Patrick W. Dunne, USN (Ret.) , the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning for the Department of Veterans' Affairs, said:

"I'm very privileged to be here today as we honor a real American patriot who has served his country in truly remarkable fashion..."

Dave Allen, the son of Edgar and Viola Allen of Aurelia, is a 1973 Aurelia High School graduate. Allen excelled in football and track while in high school, and went on to participate in both sports during his years at Westmar College in LeMars. He graduated from Westmar with a BA in Physical Education, and in September of 1977 went through Aviation Officer Candidate School in Pensacola, Florida, learning to fly helicopters and earning his wings.

Allen's first operational assignment was to Helicopter Combat Support Squadron SIX in Norfolk, Virginia, flying the H-46 Sea Knight. He then transferred to Helicopter Training Squadron Eight, serving as a primary helicopter flight instructor, flying the TH-57A Jet Ranger. Subsequent assignments included tours with Squadron 11 in San Diego, where he was deployed an USS MARS, as Helicopter Detachment Officer in Charge; Squadron Eight in Norfolk, deploying in USNS SATURN, again as Helicopter Detachment Officer in Charge; and again with Squadron 11 as executive Officer , and subsequently as Commanding Officer.

Rear Admiral Dunne said, "When a helicopter squadron deploys, the entire battle group relies on it. Dave successfully deployed in USS Kalamazoo, USS Seattle, USS Mars and USNS Saturn to the Mediterranean Sea, the Indian Ocean, and throughout the vast Pacific Ocean. Each battle group received the support it needed - not just when Dave was piloting, but also when he was the officer in charge of the entire detachment."

With that experience, Dave Allen deployed to the Red Sea in USS John F. Kennedy as Air Logistics Coordinator for the Red Sea Battle Force during Operation Desert Storm, on the staff of Carrier Group Two.

Rear Admiral Dunne said, "He single- handedly coordinated all air logistics flights for three aircraft carriers - the Kennedy, America, and Saratoga- as well as all H-53 flights to ships capable of landing that helicopter. Noteworthy is the fact that he did it with minimal staff - himself. Only the most knowledgeable and experienced leaders can succeed in such an environment."

The net result of Allen's time was over 4000 hours of mishap-free helicopter flight hours. "Only the best pilots accumulate such a record," said Rear Admiral Dunne.

In the Rear Admiral's opinion, Captain Allen "saved his finest performance for his tour on the South Pacific island of Guam, as my Chief of Staff and the Commanding Officer of Naval Support Activity Marianas."

Captain Allen reported to Guam just three months before 9/11/2001. "He was just getting comfortable with his new assignment (and the humidity) when terrorism struck," said the Rear Admiral. "Suddenly, Guam was transformed into the Western Pacific's military operations focal point. Guess who was responsible for every aspect of support?"

Dunn continued, "Force protection was at its highest level in history, yet Dave found a way to meet every requirement, and still support all the ships stopping for ammunition, logistics, training, milk and eggs, and even R and R. By the time he left Guam, he oversaw 447 ship visits- an 85 percent increase from the years before his arrival."

Captain Allen was also responsible for the island of FDM in the Northern Marianas, essential for training all military services in live fire weapons use.

"Dave ensured that everyone got the training they needed, all the standards were met, and everyone came home safely," said Dunne. "While all this was going on, 150 Navy Reserve personnel were transferred to Guam to provide force protection manpower. With literally a moment's notice, Dave was responsible to ensure that every person was integrated into the existing security force, and also had a place to live, eat, and activities available for off-time. He managed the challenge brilliantly.'"

In the meantime, the Navy decided to re-establish Guam as a nuclear submarine home port, and Captain Allen coordinated every aspect of the preparations- on time and under budget. To lead and command as the Navy expected, Captain Allen had to coordinate the largest privatization of base support that the Navy had ever attempted, In Rear Admiral Dunne's words: "He did it... and made it look easy." This in spite of a seven-month period when an earthquake, two typhoons, and a super typhoon threatened to put the base out of service- an event which Dunne says Captain Allen "wouldn't let happen. Each time, he rallied his personnel to overcome such things as two weeks without water, 16 days without power, and $89 million of facility repair. Overcoming such challenges doesn't happen easily, or overnight, and dealing with them while still supporting every ship arriving in port can only be accomplished by an outstanding leader."

Among other duties which Captain Allen took on because of Rear Admiral Dunne's other commitments, were being the Grand Marshal of the Liberation Day parade, reviewing, with Governor Camacho, every float and band that marched by ... in the pouring rain, and filling in as the graduation speaker at the local High School.

Captain Allen's final assignment was working with the Navy ROTC Program at the University of Illinois in Champaign. He met his wife Linda, a teacher at Eastern Illinois University, while stationed in Champaign. She retired from that job when Captain Allen retired from the service, but is still teaching technology courses on-line.

Captain Allen's decorations include the Defense Superior service Medal, Legion of Merit with gold star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with gold star, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, among others.

Additional degrees which Allen has earned while in the service include a Master of Science Degree in Information Systems from the Naval Postgraduate School , and a Master of Arts Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies from the Naval War College.

Dave and Linda recently visited San Antonio, Texas, and enjoyed the city so much that they plan to settle there. Since his retirement, Allen has been just "enjoying retirement and relaxing," including some time at his parents' home in his old hometown. However, based on his active nature, and his experience in the service, don't expect Allen to become a "couch potato." He has enjoyed scuba diving for many years, and, along with teaching motorcycle safety, his retirement plans include getting a certificate to teach scuba diving.

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