Military Wiki
James R. Allen
General James R. Allen
Born (1925-11-17)November 17, 1925
Died August 11, 1992(1992-08-11) (aged 66)
Place of birth Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Place of death Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Place of burial Arlington National Cemetery
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 1948-1983
Rank General
Commands held Superintendent, U.S. Air Force Academy
Military AIrlift Command
Battles/wars Korean War
Vietnam War
Awards Legion of Merit (3)
Distinguished Flying Cross (2)
Silver Star

General James Rodgers Allen (November 17, 1925 – August 11, 1992) was commander in chief of the Military Airlift Command, with headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois,[1]

He served as a pilot in combat during parts of the Korean War and the Vietnam War, and otherwise was in training, training others, or contributing in planning, administrative or management capacities.

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."[2]

He was Superintendent of the United States Air Force Academy during 1974–1977,[1] and was its seventh Superintendent in that role.[citation needed] During his superintendency, the first women cadets started at the academy: on 26 June 1976, 157 women entered, of whom 97 would eventually graduate in 1980.

He was born on November 17, 1925, in Louisville, Kentucky.[3] He entered the U.S. Military Academy in 1944 and was in military service for his full career, retiring on July 1, 1983.[1] He died of cancer at the hospital of Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on August 11, 1992.[2]

An official United States Air Force biography, written in 1981, reports:

General James R. Allen is commander in chief of the Military Airlift Command, with headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. He is responsible to the president and the secretary of Defense through the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the planning and performance of airlift missions during wartime, periods of crisis and peacetime exercises. The general directs the management of all strategic and tactical airlift forces worldwide to ensure operational support to unified and specified commands engaged in military operations. During routine peacetime conditions, airlift service is provided by the Military Airlift Command commander, through the secretary of the Air Force, in his role as executive director of the Single Manager Operating Agency for Department of Defense Airlift Service. In this capacity, he is also responsible for air rescue, air weather, aeromedical evacuation, and combat documentation and audiovisual systems throughout the world.

General Allen was born in Louisville, Ky., in 1925, and graduated from Louisville Male High School in 1943. He entered the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1944, graduated in 1948 with a bachelor of science degree in military engineering and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. In 1965 he received a master of science degree in business administration from The George Washington University, Washington, D.C. He was presented an honorary doctor of laws degree by the University of Denver in 1975. General Allen graduated from the Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 1960 and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, D.C., in 1965.

After graduation from West Point, he attended flying training at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas, and in September 1949 received his pilot wings at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. General 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-80C's. 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 to October 1951, he served as aide to the commander of 5th Air Force.

He returned to the United States in October 1951 to fly F-86A's 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 United States Air Forces in Europe.

He returned to the United States in 1959 to attend the Army Command and General Staff College and was assigned the following year to the Directorate of Plans, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C. In August 1964 he entered the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

In July 1965 General Allen transferred to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., 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-4C's 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 Air Force Base, Ala.

The general 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. In January 1972 he took command of the 19th Air Division at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas.

In August 1972 General Allen became assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Strategic Air Command, with headquarters at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., moving up to deputy chief of staff for operations six months later. He became chief of staff for SAC headquarters in September 1973. He returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in January 1974 as special assistant to the Air Force chief of staff.

From August 1974 to July 1977, he was superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. He then was named chief of staff, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, Belgium, and in July 1979 the general became deputy commander in chief of the United States European Command. He assumed his present command in June 1981.

He is a command pilot and has flown AT-6s, P-51s, F-80C's, F-86A's, F-lOOC's, F-4C's, T-37s, T-38s, B-52s and KC-135s. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Air Force Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal with 11 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award ribbon with "V" device and three oak leaf clusters and Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation. 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.

He was promoted to general August 1, 1977, with same date of rank.

(Current as of December 1981)

—Author unknown, JAMES R. ALLEN[1]

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


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "General James R. Allen". United States Air Force. 1983. Archived from the original on 2012-12-12. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Saxon, Wolfgang. "James R. Allen, Air Force General And Head of Academy, Dies at 66". The New York Times August 15, 1992: p.9.
  3. "James R. Allen". Find-A-Grave. Retrieved 2008-01-15. 
Preceded by
Albert P. Clark
Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy
Succeeded by
Kenneth L. Tallman

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