Terry de la Mesa Allen Jr.

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Military person

Terry de la Mesa Allen Jr. (1929–1967), son of retired U.S. Army Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen Sr., was a fourth-generation soldier. He achieved the rank of lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. He served with the 1st Infantry Division, which his father had commanded with distinction during World War II. Allen was killed in an ambush in South Vietnam on Tuesday 17 October 1967 while leading his battalion against the Viet Cong near Lai Khe, northwest of Saigon at the Battle of Ong Thanh.

Military career

Under steady pressure from superiors to forcefully engage the enemy, Allen, in what has been called an "ill-advised action", took two rifle companies, "A" and "D" on an attempt to contact hostile Viet Cong forces.[1]

These two rifle companies ran into an ambush by two much larger Viet Cong battalions that lay in wait along the trail. The Viet Cong forces allowed the lead company, Bravo, to walk past the second of two enemy battalions lying alongside the road as close as 10 meters away. Bravo Company continued up the trail and walked along the 1st of the two battalions which opened fire on them, killing or wounding the entire force including LTC Allen and his CSM Francis Dowling, who was later found lying entirely over the top of his commander. After all but eliminating Alpha Company, the Viet Cong 2d battalion assaulted Delta Company, killing or wounding many of the remaining Americans.[2]

He posthumously received the Distinguished Service Cross for this action.[3]

Personal life

Allen was married to Jean Ponder of El Paso and had 3 children: Consuelo, Alice ("Bebe"), and Mary Frances.


An account of the Battle of Ong Thanh is detailed in the best-selling They Marched into Sunlight, a book by David Maraniss. The book was turned into the PBS documentary Two Days in October,[4] which was broadcast by the BBC as How Vietnam Was Lost.[5]

See also


External links