More detail on this person: ALLEN MITCHELL BURDETT, JR., was "to the Army" born on 25
August 1921, in Washington, DC. The military ran deep in the blood of his ancestors; they fought in
every American conflict since the Revolutionary War. His father, a highly respected military judge,
became the Army's senior JAG colonel.
As a Boy Scout at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Allen began his lifelong friendship with a future USMA classmate, Arch Hamblen. Upon graduation from Western High School in Washington, DC, in 1939, he was appointed to USMA by Senator Richard Russell of Georgia. West Point was a challenge, a joy, and the beginning of lifetime friendships. He was commissioned in the Infantry and he and Arch continued a close association throughout several assignments, both overseas and Stateside.
Following the Basic Infantry Course at Fort Benning, Georgia, he joined the newly activated 63rd "Blood and Fire" Infantry Division, Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi. During World War II, Allen commanded a rifle company in the European Theater. His chaplain at that time, Raphael Miller, described Allen's openness and friendliness as evidence of genuine concern and affection for people. He had a deep personal faith and a great reliance on prayer. He stayed on in Germany after the war ended, serving in the operations section of Seventh and Third Armies and with the U.S. Constabulary before returning to the States in 1947.
On 19 April 1948, Allen and Antoinette Salley were married in Asheville, North Carolina. After three years as Assistant PMS&T at Georgia Tech, he attended Infantry School at Fort Benning in 1950 and stayed to serve with the 508th Airborne Regimental Combat Team. In 1953 he graduated from the Command and General Staff College.
Allen was next assigned to Korea, where he served as a battalion commander in the 31st Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division. Returning Stateside, he completed the Armed Forces Staff College before assuming duties as the first Army representative to the newly established Air Force Academy, then in Denver.
On graduation from the Army War College and the Army Aviation School, he was posted to the staff of the Aviation School at Fort Rucker, Alabama, from 1960-62. From 1962-65 he served as executive officer to the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research and Development in Washington.
In 1965 he joined the 11th Air Assault Division at Fort Benning, which was reorganized into the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) and deployed to Vietnam. He commanded the Division's 11th Aviation Group for almost a year before returning to Washington in 1966 to become military assistant to the Deputy Director of Defense Research and Engineering (Tactical Warfare Programs). In 1966 he was promoted to brigadier general. During this period he received a master's degree in International Affairs from George Washington University.
In 1968, Allen returned to Viemam as an assistant division commander of the 101st Airborne Division and in 1969 commanded the 1st Aviation Brigade there. General Mel Zais, Commander of the 101st Airborne Division, wrote, "I know I can rely on him to complete the toughest mission and achieve perfection."
His next assignment took him back to Washington in 1970 as Director of Army Aviation, until later that year when he was selected to command the Army Aviation Center. Fort Rucker Chaplain Burton Hatch, in a prayer at Allen's funeral, gave thanks for his faithfulness to his Lord, his family, and his country; for his gracious manner and his firm handshake that brought encouragement and inspiration to all who knew him. At his induction into the Army Aviation Hall of Fame in 1980, Allen was cited as having greatly enhanced the role of Army Aviation on the modern battlefield.
In 1973, Allen was promoted to lieutenant general and assumed command of III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas. In 1975 he took command of the Fifth U.S. Army, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and commanded until his retirement in June 1978, after 35 years of active military service. Dr. Duncan Stewart, Fifth Army Chaplain and pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, spoke of the sad impact of Allen's death on the church and the city of which he was a part.
Allen and Antoinette retired in San Antonio, where he continued on the Board of Directors of USAA. At the age of 58, he died of cancer on 8 July 1980 after a two-month illness. He is survived by his wife Antoinette who lives in Asheville, North Carolina; his sons, Allen III of Saluda, North Carolina; William of Tuxedo, North Carolina; and Douglas of New York City; and seven grandchildren. His daughter, Margaret Burdett Close, died in a car accident in 1984.
General Burdett was a longtime member of the Army-Navy Town Club and the Army-Navy Country Club; as a member of the Falls Church Presbyterian Church, Falls Church, Virginia, he served as a deacon; as a member of the Covenant Presbyterian Church, San Antonio, he was a ruling elder. He was also a member of the Society of the Cincinnati. He had a lifetime interest in Boy Scouts. The National Boy Scout Court of Honor awarded him the Silver Beaver, one of scouting's highest awards. The San Antonio chapter of the American Red Cross honored him by establishing a volunteer award in his name.
His military awards included two awards each of the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, three Bronze Star awards, 25 Air Medals, the Army Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Purple Heart. His foreign decorations included the National Order of Vietnam Fifth Class and the Republic of Viemam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
The words honor, courage, integrity, honesty, and patriotism personify Allen. He was a living example of DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY.
This information was last updated 05/18/2016
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Date posted on this site: 04/14/2021
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