Lew Allen

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Lew Allen, Jr. (September 30, 1925 – January 4, 2010) was a United States Air Force four-star General who served as the tenth Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force. As the Chief-of-Staff, Allen served as the senior uniformed Air Force officer, who was responsible for the organization, training, and equipping of 750,000 active duty Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and civilian personal serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he and the other service chiefs function(ed) as the military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council, and the President.


World War II

Born in Miami, Florida, Allen attended and graduated from high school in Gainesville, Texas, in 1942. He entered the United States Military Academy, in 1943, and he graduated in 1946 with a bachelor of science degree and a commission as a second lieutenant. He was awarded his pilot's wings upon his graduation from flight training.

Post-World War II

After completing multi-engine flight training in November 1946, Allen was assigned to Strategic Air Command's 7th Bombardment Group at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, where he flew B-29 Superfortress bombers, and then the new and very long-range Convair B-36 bomber. Allen also served in various technical positions in the area of nuclear weapons. Allen also attended the Air Tactical Course at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and next he 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, Allen entered the University of Illinois for graduate study in nuclear physics. He completed his Master of Science degree in 1952. Allen continued his graduate study, and he earned his Ph. D. in physics in 1954. He had completed an experimental thesis on high-energy photonuclear reactions. General Allen then was assigned to the U.S. 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 the bomb designer Ted Taylor. Allen conducted experiments in several different nuclear test series. These experiments concerned the physics of thermonuclear weapons design and to the effects of high altitude nuclear explosions conceivably to be used for ballistic missile defense.

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