John Edward Allen
Sergeant. United States Army
RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 316-07 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 20, 2007
Media Contact: (703) 697-5131/697-5132
DoD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.They died March 17, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their vehicle during combat operations.They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, Texas.
Sergeant John E. Allen, 25, of Palmdale, California
For more information in regard to this release
the media can contact the Fort Bliss public affairs office at (915) 568-4505.
California Flags were lowered at the state Capitol Thursday in honor of a Palmdale soldier who died last weekend in Iraq.
Sergeant John E. Allen, 25, died Saturday from injuries sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle during combat operations in Baghdad.
"Sergeant Allen's ceaseless determination to defend the liberties of Americans will not be forgotten," said Govenor Arnold Schwarzenegger. "John has left his family with an honorable legacy of safeguarding the rights for which our nation stands."
Allen was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th
Calvary Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division, Fort Bliss,
A 1999 Palmdale High graduate, Allen was survived
by his wife, Aspen.
When John Allen decided to join the military after graduating from high school in 1999, his mother told him that it had to be the Air Force or Navy. She figured she would worry less than if he were in the Army or Marine Corps.
Allen picked the Navy. He served four years, then came home to Palmdale, hoping to become a police officer or a high-end security guard.
Neither job panned out, and in 2005 he went back into the military, this time into the Army, following in the footsteps of his grandfather, who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Allen trained as a medic, and loved when his friends called him Doc. Then, in July, he married his high school sweetheart, Aspen Shinkle.
When he shipped to Iraq in November, his mother said, she felt that he had "become a man."
"He had chosen his right path," Kellie Allen said.
Four months later, the 25-year-old sergeant was among four soldiers killed March 17, 2007, when a roadside bomb exploded near their vehicle in Baghdad.
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Calvary Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Allen's family said they take comfort in knowing that he was doing a job he believed in, alongside comrades he loved.
His family, however, has lost the person whose gift it was to make everyone around him feel a bit happier. "He was our peacemaker," his mother said.
And he was famous for his goofball sense of humor. A friend, Jim Johnson, described him this way: "All you had to do was ask him once, and he would be up there singing karaoke."
His twin sister, Amanda Braxton of Redding, recalled the time when he borrowed a stranger's jet ski and took the machine for a quick tour around Lake Tahoe — with the man's beautiful wife still sitting on the back.
"He always created these special, funny moments," she said. "John had a way of making good things happen even though it was done in the strangest possible way."
That quality has come into sharp focus in the weeks since his death, as tributes have poured in to his family from friends that he made around the globe, his mother said.
He had a serious, creative side too. In recent years, he developed a passion for making small sculptures, crafting intricate shapes such as hummingbirds out of wire and tape. He also composed music.
In addition to his wife, mother and sister,
Allen is survived by his father, Richard; and his brother, Adam, of Anchorage.
April 28, 2007
PALMDALE - The Palmdale High School choir honored 1999 alumnus John Allen in song. Fellow alumnus Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford honored him in words. Principal Eric Riegert honored him with a plaque.
But Army medic Sgt. John E. Allen wasn't on hand to thank everyone for the honors bestowed upon him.
Rather, people gathered at the flagpole in front of the school Friday to thank him for his service and dedication to his country. They did it posthumously.
Allen was killed, along with three infantrymen, on March 17, by explosive ordnance during security operations in Baghdad. All four were posthumously awarded Bronze Star and Purple Heart medals.
The son of Richard and Kellie Allen, the 25-year-old veteran is survived by his wife of eight months, Aspen. Allen was the first Palmdale High School alumnus killed during the war against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Based at Fort Bliss, Texas, Allen deployed to Iraq in the fall with the 1st Cavalry's 4th Brigade Combat Team. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
As the female choir members began singing John Rutter's "Distant Land: A Prayer for Freedom," Aspen stood by her parents-in-law. Once the male voices joined in to offer a haunting background to poignant words, Richard Allen put his arm around Aspen's shoulders.
Aspen dabbed at the tears streaking down her cheeks, her dog tag necklaces glinting in the noonday sun. Next to her, Allen's twin sister, Amanda Braxton, put her hands on her mom's shoulders as her mom lovingly held the 3-week-old son of Allen's best friend, Chris Blaylock, and Blaylock's girlfriend Dorothy Vidana.
"When I was holding the baby, he was grabbing this," Kellie Allen said, pulling on a gold-plated dog tag necklace worn in honor of her son.
"It was hard holding a new life and letting go of another."
The baby - Allen Jonathan Edward - was named in honor of Blaylock's departed friend.
One more hug
Before, during and after the ceremony, Aspen graciously received the hugs of friends, relatives and acquaintances, yet the hug she longed for …
The couple was married July 7, 2006, and Allen was deployed to Iraq on November 1.
"It wasn't a very long time, but it is precious to me," Aspen said. "I was so happy with him. Even though he was deployed to Iraq, he made me so very happy. He would text message me whenever he could.
"It still hasn't really hit me that he's gone. When it does, when I think about it, it doesn't seem like it's true."
Asked when she misses her husband the most, Aspen paused, took in a breath and said, "Night is hard because I'm thinking about him."
"And waking up in the morning is hard, knowing why I'm at home and he's not."
Mayor Ledford said, "We're experiencing the price of freedom. It's paid for by individuals defending our nation.
"John Allen made the ultimate sacrifice, and that brings it home to all of us here today," he said. "When I was (a student) here, there was another conflict (the Vietnam War) going on, but the issues are the same and young people are stepping up to defend our nation and our freedom.
"As a nation we have the responsibility to provide support and reach out to the families of those who are killed. We share in their sorrow, their hurt and their loss, and we're here to pay our respects."
Allen's sister Amanda said of her brother, "We were always on each other's mind. I thought of him every day and I'm sure he thought of me every day even though we were so far apart the last couple of years.
"He had a knack of connecting with everybody he met," she continued. "John was close to everyone he came into contact with."
A distant land …
Jose Gutierrez, the Palmdale High Associated Student Body president, said conducting the event and acknowledging Allen's sacrifice was important to the school, its students and staff.
"Some of us graduates will be going into the military and heading out over there (Iraq). There are some of us who will go to college and some will go to work," he said. "All of us will go out and make contributions to society and others.
"Sgt. Allen's contribution was giving his life for us."
Choir director Mike McCullough said he felt the words to the song the choir sang were inspirational and hopefully worthy of former PHS choir member Allen's sacrifice:
I see a distant land, it seems so clear
The journey may be long, no end in sight,
A second plaque honoring Allen will be displayed in the administration office until the time it can be placed in the refurbished school cafeteria alongside a long-ago-dedicated stained-glass memorial to former students who were killed during the Vietnam War - Gerald O. Toy, Scott Carpenter, James S. King, Barrett C. Brown, James S. Rogers, Robert F. Chamberlain, Eugene W. Burkhart, Clark E. Sapp, Clayton B. Lowe Jr. and Monte R. Harper.
With the American flag unfurling ever so slightly on the nearby flagpole, Riegert held the plaque for all to see. It has 12 spots where names can be engraved. Allen's name is in the upper left-hand corner.
"Hopefully, the rest of these spots will never be filled," Riegert said.
I think it is appropriate under the circumstances because of some of our fallen heroes funeral's, who have protesters there. Thank God for the Patriot Guard. (What is up with that? Protesting a funeral? Sometimes I have to wonder about our country and the people that live here.)
This poem was written by John's Aunt Alice:
note to all the protesters
you think that it's a given
think that freedom just is free
fought for rights and freedom
if they quit you would not have
will ask "Where are the soldiers"
by: Alice Wakelin
(Aunt of Sergeant John E. Allen, Killed In Iraq, 17 March 2007)
God would grant me one more minute
God would grant me one more minute
God would grant me one more minute
ALLEN, JOHN EDWARD
Photo By M. R. Patterson, 4 July 2011
Photo Courtesy of Holly, June 2007
Photo Courtesy of Holly, April 2007