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First Name: James

Last Name: Allen

Birthplace: Louisville, KY, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Middle Name: Rodgers

Date of Birth: 17 November 1925

Date of Death: 11 August 1992

Rank: General

Years Served: 1948-1983
James Rodgers Allen

Graduate, U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1948

•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


James Rodgers Allen

General, U.S. Air Force

James Rodgers Allen was born on 17 November 1925 in Louisville, KY. He graduated from Louisville Male High School in 1943 and entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1944. He graduated in 1948 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Military Engineering and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.

After graduation from West Point, he attended flying training at Randolph AFB, TX, and in September 1949 received his pilot wings at Nellis AFB, NV. Allen served with the 18th Fighter Group from September 1949 to June 1951 in the Philippines and South Korea where he flew P-51s and F-80Cs. During the first two months of the Korean War, he flew combat missions as a member of a volunteer squadron with the South Korean Air Force. From June-October 1951, he served as Aide-de-Camp to the Commander of 5th Air Force.

He returned to the U.S. in October 1951 to fly F-86As as a member of the 71st Fighter-Interceptor Squadron at Greater Pittsburgh Airport, PA. In June 1953 he was assigned to the U.S. Military Academy where he served as Company Tactical Officer. His first assignment to Europe was from December 1956 to July 1959 at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. While there, he was a Flight Commander, Operations Officer and later, Executive Officer to the Director of Plans, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe.

Allen returned to the U.S. in 1959 to attend the Army Command and General Staff College and was assigned the following year to the Directorate of Plans, Headquarters USAF, Washington, DC. In August 1964 he entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

In July 1965, Allen transferred to Eglin AFB, FL, where he activated and Commanded the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron. After a brief period in this assignment, he went to Cam Ranh Bay Air Base, Republic of Vietnam, flying F-4Cs and as Deputy Commander for Operations of the 12th Tactical Fighter Wing. In December 1966, he became the Deputy Commander for Operations of the 3615th Pilot Training Wing at Craig AFB, AL.

Allen returned to Air Force Headquarters in August 1968 as Assistant Deputy Director for Plans and, in August 1969, became Deputy Director for Plans and Policy in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff, Plans and Operations.

While a planner in the Pentagon,"he was a principal architect of a joint Army-Air Force helicopter raid in 1970 on a camp in North Vietnam, where American prisoners were believed to be held. No prisoners were found."

In January 1972, he took Command of the 19th Air Division at Carswell AFB, TX. In August 1972, Allen became Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, Strategic Air Command, with headquarters at Offutt AFB, NE, moving up to Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations six months later.

He became Chief of Staff for SAC Headquarters in September 1973 and returned to Headquarters USAF in January 1974, as Special Assistant to the Air Force Chief of Staff.

From August 1974 to July 1977, he was the seventh Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, in Colorado Springs, CO. During his tenure, the first women cadets started at the Academy: On 26 June 1976, 157 women entered and 97 graduated in 1980.

Allen was promoted to the rank of four-star General on 1 August 1977 and was named Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Belgium. In July 1979, General Allen became Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. European Command.

General Allen's final assignment was as Commander-in-Chief, Military Airlift Command (CINCMAC) from 1981-1983.

General Allen retired from the Air Force in 1983. He was a Command Pilot and had flown AT-6s, P-51s, F-80Cs, F-86As, F-lOOCs, F-4Cs, T-37s, T-38s, B-52s and KC-135s during his service.

In addition to his degree from the USMA, in 1965 Allen received a Master of Science degree in Business Administration from George Washington University in Washington. General Allen also graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, KS, in 1960 and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, in 1965.

Medals, Awards and Badges

Defense Distinguished Service Medal
Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit with 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Distinguished Flying Cross with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Bronze Star Medal
Air Medal with 2 Silver and Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Commendation Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Army Commendation Medal
Presidential Unit Citation with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster
Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor Device and 3 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Organizational Excellence Unit Award
Air Force Overseas Short Tour Ribbon
National Defense Service Ribbon with Bronze Star
Korean Service Medal with 4 Bronze Stars
Vietnam Service Medal with 2 Bronze Stars
Air Force Longevity Service Award with Silver and 2 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters
Air Force Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation
Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation
United Nations Service Medal
Vietnam Campaign Medal
Command Pilot Badge


He was presented an honorary doctor of laws degree by the University of Denver in 1975.

In February 1979, the government of France awarded General Allen the French National Order of Merit in the rank of commander. He received the Order of the Two Niles from the government of Sudan in November 1980.

The James R. Allen School, now known as Brandenburg Primary School, or JRA, in Brandenburg, KY, was named for him.

Death and Burial

General James Rodgers Allen died of cancer at the hospital of Andrews AFB in Maryland on 11 August 1992. He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, in Section 6, Lot 8507-A.

Honoree ID: 435   Created by: MHOH




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