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Lew Allen, Jr. (born September 30, 1925 in Miami, Floridamarker) was a United States Air Force four-star general who served as the tenth Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force. As chief, he served as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipage of 750,000 active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he and the other service chiefs function as military advisers to the Secretary of Defense, National Security Council and the president.

World War II

Allen graduated from high school in Gainesville, Texasmarker, in 1942. He entered the United States Military Academymarker, in 1943 and graduated in 1946 with a bachelor of science degree and commission as a second lieutenant. He was awarded pilot wings upon graduation from flight training.

Post-World War II

After completing multiengine flight training in November 1946, General Allen was assigned to Strategic Air Command's 7th Bombardment Group at Carswell Air Force Basemarker, Texasmarker, where he flew B-29 Superfortresses and Convair B-36s, and also served in various positions related to nuclear weaponry. He attended the Air Tactical Course at Tyndall Air Force Basemarker, Florida, and returned to Carswell Air Force Base as an instructor and assistant special weapons officer for the 7th Bombardment Wing.

In September 1950, he entered the University of Illinoismarker for graduate training in nuclear physics and received a master of science degree in 1952. He earned his doctorate degree in physics in 1954 after completing 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 New Mexicomarker as a physicist in the Test Division, where he became friends with bomb designer Ted Taylor. He conducted experiments in several of the nuclear test series. These experiments related to the physics of thermonuclear weapons design and to the effects of high altitude nuclear explosions for ballistic missile defense.

From June 1957 to December 1961, General Allen was assigned to Kirtland Air Force Basemarker, New Mexico, as science adviser to the Physics Division of the Air Force Special Weapons Center. He specialized in the military effects of high altitude nuclear explosions and participated in several weapon test series. He was 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.

He was assigned in December 1961, to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Space Technology Office in the Directorate of Research and Engineering, Washington, D.C.marker From June 1965 to February 1973, he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, initially in Los Angelesmarker as deputy director for advanced plans in the Directorate of Special Projects. He moved to The Pentagonmarker in June 1968 as deputy director of space systems and in June 1969 became director. He returned to Los Angeles in September 1970 as assistant to the director of special projects and in April 1971 became director of special projects, with additional duty as deputy commander for satellite programs, Space and Missile Systems Organization.

After serving briefly as chief of staff for Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Basemarker, Marylandmarker, General Allen was appointed in March 1973 as deputy to the Director of Central Intelligence for the Intelligence Community in Washington, D.C. In August 1973, he became director, National Security Agencymarker and chief, Central Security Service at Fort George G.marker Meademarker, Maryland. Allen's tenure as NSA director was noteworthy in that he became the first NSA director to ever testify publicly before Congress. In August 1977, he was named commander of Air Force Systems Command.

Allen served as the vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force from April 1978 until he became Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force in July 1978. His nomination was unusual in that he had never served an overseas or a combat assignment, and most of his positions were in highly specialized activities rather than in the usual command structure of the Air Force.

Following retirement from the Air Force in 1982, he became the Director of Jet Propulsion Laboratorymarker, during the Voyager program, serving in that capacity until 1990.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Council on Foreign Relations.

From 1993 to 1995, General Allen served as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board (PFIAB) and the Intelligence Oversight Board

Allen was awarded the 1999 Distinguished Graduate Award of the Association of Graduates, the alumni association of West Point graduates.

The United States Air Force has created an award in his honor, the General Lew Allen Jr. Trophy, awarded annually to an Officer and Senior NCO in the aircraft maintenance or munitions career fields directly involved with sortie generation.

Awards and Decorations



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