Allen Jr., Lew


1979 TLS as Air Force Chief of Staff on addressing US Army War College class, led Jet Propulsion Laboratory 1982-90


Autograph ID: 6739
Condition: Very good, docketing in another hand at top right
Description: “(1925-2010) US Air Force general, 10th USAF Chief of Staff. USMA 1946, awarded pilot’s wings after flight training. Allen was assigned to the Strategic Air Command’s ‘s 7th Bombardment Group at in Texas where he flew B-29 Superfortress bombers then the very long-range Convair B-36 bomber, also serving in various technical positions in the nuclear weapon area. He earned a Ph.D. in physics in 1954 with an experimental thesis on high-energy photonuclear reactions. General Allen then was assigned to Los Alamos as a physicist in the Test Division, conducting experiments in several different nuclear test series concerning the physics of thermonuclear weapons design and the effects of high altitude nuclear explosions conceivable for use in ballistic missile defense. He was assigned in Dec. 1961 to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Space Technology Office and June 1965-Feb. 1973 to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force as the Deputy Director for Advanced Plans in the Directorate of Special Projects. Allen next moved to the Pentagon in June 1968 as Deputy Director of Space Systems, and in June 1969 became the Director. In March 1973, Allen was appointed a deputy to the CIA Director and that August became Director of the National Security Agency (NSA) and Chief of the Central Security Service at Ft. Meade, Md. He became the first NSA Director to ever testify publicly before Congress. In August 1977, he was named Commander of Air Force Systems Command, USAF Vice Chief of Staff April-July 1978, then Chief of Staff July 1978-1982. His nomination was unusual in that he had never served in an overseas or combat assignment, and most of his positions were in specialized technical activities, rather than in the usual command structure of the Air Force. He was the last chief of staff with a bomber background; all subsequent Chiefs of Staff have been fighter pilots. Following retirement from the Air Force in 1982, Allen became Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) to 1990, during part of the Voyager Program (space probes launched in 1977), and served as the JPL Director to 1990. The Air Force created an award, the General Lew Allen, Jr., Trophy, which is awarded annually to an Officer and a Senior NCO in the aircraft maintenance or munitions career fields directly involved with setting up aircraft sorties. Since 1986, the JPL awards the Lew Allen Award for Excellence, until 1990 the Director’s Research Achievement Award.

TLS on 9 x 7 letterhead as Air Force Chief of Staff, Washington, December 7 1979, to Major General DeWitt C. Smith Jr., Commandant, Army War College, will be able to address the Army War College on March 21 if suitable.

DeWITT C. SMITH,JR. (1920 -1985) US Army officer, former deputy Army Chief of Staff, twice (and longest-serving) Army War College commandant 1974 -77, 1978-80. He attended Oberlin College but joined the Canadian army before US entry in WW II under an assumed name; his father had him discharged. In 1942, he joined the US Army and went to NCO school, then to OCS. Commissioned a 2nd lieutenant, he served with the 4th Armored Div. in combat after Normandy until the end of the War. General Smith was wounded 3 times in action and awarded the Silver Star, 2 Bronze Stars for Valor, and 3 Purple Hearts. Discharged in 1946, he graduated from the University of Maryland, returned to active duty for the Korean War and stayed in the military. He was an aide to Chief of Staff Gen. Maxwell Taylor, served in the “Old Guard” at Fort Myer, and was a battalion executive officer and commander in Germany. He served at the Pentagon before going to the Army War College. He commanded a combat brigade of the 1st Infantry Div. in Vietnam and came under fire in the Dominican Republic while on the staff of the Secretary of Defense in the mid-60s. In 1970, under his leadership, Fort Carson in Colorado was made an initial test site for the modern volunteer Army concept. After his stints at the War College, he retired in 1980.”
Type: Letter

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