John S. Allen

AllenBorn: Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. Lived during WW II in Westfield, Massachusetts and Glens Falls, New York. After WW II we moved back to Nantucket. 1950-1954 we lived in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida during winters.

Enlisted Dec 1954 and took basic at Lackland in 3705 BMTS. After basic went to Ft. Lee VA for general drafting course, then to Hq. Sq. Section, Alaskan Air Command at Elmendorf. Transferred after 2 years to Aeronautical Chart and Information Center in St. Louis MO. Then to Hq. Sq. Section, 64th Air Division, Pepperell Air Base, St. John’s Newfoundland Canada. After Pepperell we went to Minot AFB ND and from Minot on to OCS.

After OCS I went to Keesler AFB MS for Computer Maintenance Officer Course (3061) 54 weeks. Then we moved on to Custer AFS Battle Creek MI as a Computer Maintenance Officer. We were in the process of taking over the SAGE computer systems from IBM Maintenance to full-time AF maintenance. We went from 145 civilians to 54 GIs. We ended up with a much better OR rate than the IBMers. My boss was Teofilio Esculano (OCS also).

We stayed at Custer for 3 years and then moved to Ft Lee AFS in Petersburg, VA where I was the only Computer Maintenance Officer and again had fewer GIs to do the same job. Down on occasion to 30 technicians. Hard to man 7/24 with this few men and keep the system going. We were able to keep an OR rate equal to the rest of the command.

Following this we went to Keesler AFB for instructor duty where I took over the course as Instructor Supervisor. During the time at Keesler, worked hard with the Boy Scouts and was identified as the Volunteer of the Year. We lived through the Hurricane called Camille where I was the shelter manager for 1500 souls in Bryan Hall (alternate Hospital for the base). What a life!!

I attended Squadron Officer School in Residence, Communications Electronics System Staff Officer Course and Air Command and Staff Officer Course. I was then assigned to 861 Radar Squadron, Aiken AFS, South Carolina as Maintenance Officer and then as Squadron Commander. This was a fun assignment. We had the Air Force Demonstration Team (Thunderbirds) give shows for two years. This was great! Then we had the Headquarters AF IG team visit 18 inspectors for a 120 man unit- what an overkill and waste of manpower.

In December 1974 I retired as a Captain (I was on the Major list until personnel realized that I was scheduled for retirement) Got red-lined just before the announcement.

We then returned to St. Louis where I started teaching at Ranken Technical College as the only instructor for computers. I applied for an engineering job with McDonnell-Douglas Telecommunications. Worked with them in engineering and received three promotions in one year. Then I received an offer to work for MasterCard International as Director of Telecommunications. We installed the new BANKNET system—four years late—in one year. Then my old boss back at McDonnell-Douglas called and asked me to come back. I went back and stayed with MDC until I retired in 1992.

During this time we were involved in a Masonic organization called the Order of the Eastern Star. We served in many different positions and in 1991 I was the Worthy Grand Patron (#2 position) of the Grand Chapter of Missouri (about 55,000 members). I am now serving as a General Grand Chapter Committee Member. We have timeshare time, an RV, and a home in St. Charles, MO on a lake. We travel a lot and do things with our children and grandchildren. Three sons, six grandsons, and two granddaughters. They live in Texas, Virginia, and Minnesota (moving back to Missouri).

Our future includes going to Florida next winter for a couple of months with the RV, using our timeshare time in Branson, etc., and enjoying our time together.