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 Lew Allen, Jr

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Lew Allen, Jr

  • Birth 30 Sep 1925 Miami, Miami-Dade County, Florida, USA
  • Death 4 Jan 2010 Potomac Falls, Loudoun County, Virginia, USA
  • Burial Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA
  • Plot Section 1 Grave 262-D
  • Memorial ID 46384082

US Air Force General. He was the tenth Chief of Staff of the US Air Force, serving from July 1978 until July 1982. His nomination to that position was unusual in that he had never served in an overseas or combat assignment, and most of his tours were in specialized technical activities, rather than in the usual command structure of the Air Force. He grew up in Gainesville, Texas where he graduated from high school in 1942. He received an appointment to attend the US Military Academy in 1943 and graduated in 1946 with a Bachelor of Science Degree and a commission as a second lieutenant in the US Army Air Corps. He then attended flight training and was awarded his pilot's wings upon graduation in November 1946. His first assignment was to the 7th Bombardment Group at Carswell Air Force Base (now Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base), Texas, where he flew B-29 Superfortress bombers, and then the new and very long-range Convair B-36 Peacemaker bomber. He also attended the Air Tactical Course at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and returned to Carswell Air Force Base as a flight instructor and as an assistant Special Weapons Officer for the 7th Bombardment Wing. In September 1950 he entered the University of Illinois at Champaign, Illinois for graduate study in nuclear physics and completed his Master of Science Degree in 1952. He continued his graduate study, earning his Ph.D. in physics in 1954, having completed an experimental thesis on high-energy photonuclear reactions. He was then was assigned to the US Atomic Energy Commission's Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, as a physicist in the Test Division, where he became acquainted with theoretical physicist and prominent nuclear weapon designer Ted Taylor. He conducted experiments in several different nuclear test series that dealt with the physics of thermonuclear weapons design and to the effects of high altitude nuclear explosions conceivably to be used for ballistic missile defense. In June 1957 he was assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico, as the science adviser to the Physics Division of the Air Force Special Weapons Center, where he specialized in the military effects of high altitude nuclear explosions and participated in several nuclear weapons test series. He was the scientific director of a major experiment that utilized a large series of high altitude rockets to measure the characteristics of electrons trapped in the geomagnetic field after an exoatmospheric nuclear burst. In December 1961 he transferred to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Space Technology Office, in the Directorate of Research and Engineering, Washington, DC. From June 1965 to February 1973, he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, initially in Los Angeles, California, as the Deputy Director for Advanced Plans in the Directorate of Special Projects. In June 1968 he moved to the Pentagon as the Deputy Director of Space Systems, and in June 1969, he became its Director. He returned to Los Angeles in September 1970 as the assistant to the Director of Special Projects and in April 1971 became the Director of Special Projects, with additional duty as the Deputy Commander for Satellite Programs of the Space and Missile Systems Organization. After serving briefly as the Chief of Staff for the Air Force Systems Command (now merged with Air Force Logistics Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio) at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland, he was appointed in March 1973 as a deputy to the Director of Central Intelligence for the Intelligence Community in Washington, DC. The following August he became the Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Chief of the Central Security Service at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. His tenure as the NSA director was noteworthy in that he became its first director to ever testify publicly before Congress. He was promoted to the rank of general on August 1, 1977 and became the Commander-in-Chief of Air Force Systems Command. In April 1978 he became the US Air Force Vice Chief of Staff, Washington DC and then became the Air Force Chief of Staff the following July. During his tenure as the Air Force Chief of Staff, he created Project Warrior in September 1982, a voluntary professional development program designed to help Airmen better understand and apply airpower and warfare history. He was also responsible for making the song "The U.S. Air Force," popularly known as "Off We Go Into the Wild Blue Yonder," as the official Air Force song. He retired in this position in July 1982 with 36 years of continued active military service in the US Army Air Corps and US Air Force. Among his military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with bronze oak leaf cluster, the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two bronze oak leaf clusters, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, the American Campaign Medal, the World War II Victory Medal, the National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star, the Air Force Longevity Service Award with silver and bronze oak leaf clusters, and Order of National Security Merit, Gugseon Medal. He was a command pilot with over 4,000 flying hours and received the Master Air Force Pilot Badge, the Master Missile Operations Badge, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff Badge. After his military retirement, he became the Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), presiding over the robotic space launches of the Magellan spacecraft to Venus and the Galileo mission to Jupiter, and during part of the Voyager Program (space probes launched in 1977), and served in that position until 1990. From 1993 to 1995 he served as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) and the Intelligence Oversight Board and was a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Council on Foreign Relations. He was awarded the 1999 Distinguished Graduate Award of the Association of Graduates, the alumni association of West Point graduates. The US Air Force created the General Lew Allen, Jr., Trophy in his honor, which is awarded annually to an Officer and a Senior NCO in the aircraft maintenance or munitions career fields directly involved with setting up aircraft sorties with nuclear weapons. He died of complications from rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 84.

Bio by: William Bjornstad


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  • Created by: FranzJr
  • Added: 6 Jan 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 46384082
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Lew Allen, Jr (30 Sep 1925–4 Jan 2010), Find A Grave Memorial no. 46384082, citing Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Arlington County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by FranzJr (contributor 46835234) .