TYLER, TX (KLTV) - Loma Allen served our country in the U.S. Army for 25 years, including the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the war in the middle east.
He says his early background prepared him for his service.
"If you had an opportunity to be in Washington D.C. during World War Two, there were more uniforms on the street than civilian clothes."
That exposure to patriotism has influenced much of Allen's life and in 1952 he put it to the test by joining the Army. In 1953, near the end of the Korean War, Allen was sent to Korea as a commander of C Battery, 96th Field Artillery Battalion.
"Most of my time in Korea was spent cleaning up, removing mines, removing barbed wire, looking out for stragglers, infiltrators and things like that, of which there was an awful lot of that at the end of the war."
In 1967, Allen was assigned to one of his most interesting positions as Senior Air Defense Advisor to the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Defense.
"I happened to be there during the Six Day War."
While in the Middle East, Allen co-authored the first national air defense plan for Saudi Arabia which had never been done before for any country.
He also investigated the possible use of poison gas by Egypt during the Civil war in Yemen.
"What we determined was they had indeed used poison gas."
In 1969, Allen was deployed to Vietnam, which he says was his most hazardous service, as well as totally different from any of his earlier experiences.
"I was one week away from taking command of a battalion of artillery and I was very familiar with the people and one of the battalions got overrun by a North Vietnam regiment. My introduction to command in Vietnam was on the heels of that tragedy."
There had been heavy casualties, including that of the battery commander.
"It was very difficult to talk about...still is."
Allen remained in Vietnam during a full calendar year and saw many more young men lose their lives in battle.
"From Vietnam, I went straight to Germany."
Loma Allen served our country in many positions during his career in the Army. He retired in 1977 as a Colonel, with many honors for his service.
"I would not have had it any other way."