Nekl B.Allen – Staff Sergeant, United States Army

U.S. Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
News Release

IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 712-09

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.  They died September 12, 2009, in Wardak province, Afghanistan, of injuries sustained when enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised-explosive device and small arms fire.  The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), Fort Drum, New York.

Killed were:

Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen, 29, of Rochester, New York

Specialist Daniel L. Cox, 23, of Parsons, Kansas

Sergeant Nekl B. Allen was a decorated soldier and father, and a loving brother and son.

Nekl always wanted to be a soldier, but he talked his sister Rana out of enlisting because, he said, it was too dangerous.

“Kind of a big brother little sister thing,” Rana Allen said. “He knew he could possibly be making the sacrifice. I was going to enlist and he said no, he was there to protect everybody. I knew he loved it.”

Rana said her brother always wanted to serve his country. “He loved what he was doing, he knew the risks, but he did it anyway.”

He was “Nick” to his family and friends. He attended Churchville-Chili schools from kindergarten through senior year, spending fourth and fifth grade at the Fairbanks Road Elementary School where his father was the custodian. Allen’s father never failed to tell people how proud he was of his son.

Teacher Rose Heppner taught Allen in fourth grade and reconnected with him by having her students correspond with him while he was in Afghanistan.

“He wrote back to us twice,” Heppner said. “It was a real connection with students last year.”

School Watchman John Casey remembers Nick in the hallways and on the football field, always giving 100 percent to everything he did. “Nick worked hard…he gave it his best effort playing football, and now he's paid the biggest sacrifice of all.”

When he was killed Saturday, Sergeant Nekl Allen’s was on his third deployment. He served two tours in Iraq. His sister said he had just re-enlisted for another tour of duty.

His family last talked to him in August on his birthday.

Sergeant Allen is survived by his parents Deborah and Daniel of Gates, his sister Rana, his wife Amy, and children Christopher, Michael and Grace of Carthage New York, near Fort Drum.

After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Nekl B. Allen knew it was his duty to enlist in the U.S. Army.

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“He stepped up to serve his country because he knew it was the right thing to do,” his father-in-law, Mike Meehan, said during his memorial service Tuesday in Spencerport, New York. Meehan hopes Allen will be remembered for his kindness, honesty, tenacity and how he “always chose the hard right over the easy wrong.”

Army Staff Sergeant Allen, 29, a native of Gates and 1999 graduate of Churchville-Chili High School, was on his third deployment as part of Operation Enduring Freedom when he was killed September 12, 2009, in Wardak province, Afghanistan. Enemy forces attacked his vehicle with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. Specialist Daniel L. Cox, 23, of Parsons, Kansas, also was killed.

Both served with the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade combat team, deployed out of Fort Drum in January.

Known as “Nicky” to his friends, Allen adored his family and in every moment away from the Army, could be found riding dirt bikes or playing paintball with his son, Christopher, 10, said Meehan.

Or, Allen would be helping his son, Michael, 7, with his homework or roughhousing in the living room, or helping his daughter, Grace, 5, learn to count, or putting her to bed. Or, he'd be with his greatest love: his wife, Amy, of Carthage, Jefferson County.

The Rev. Tom Balentine, pastor of Spencerport Bible Church, said when preparing his remarks for Allen's service, he asked his mother what he should say. When Balentine was 8, his father was killed while serving in the Navy.

“I asked her ‘how did you get through it?' ” he said. “She said one line: ‘Rely on the promises of God.' ”

Allen's uncle, Doug Allen, said he had prepared remarks for the service but decided he did not want to read them.

“Too much like an obituary,” he said. “And Nicky's not gone. He's just slipped into another room. He is alive in Christ.”

Doug Allen asked mourners to remember his nephew's children.

“If you knew Nicky, please write down something; a memory or experience you had and offer this to his kids so they will always know their father,” he said.

To honor Allen, members of the Spencerport Fire Department used their ladder trucks to suspend a giant American flag over North Union Street, where the funeral procession passed from Walker Brothers Funeral Home to the church. Along South Union Street in the village, a flag flew from every lamppost.

The funeral procession was escorted by local police agencies and members of the Patriot Guard Riders. The Gates Police Keystone Club Fife and Drum Corps played “Amazing Grace” as soldiers in dress uniform carried Allen's flag-draped coffin into the church.

Hundreds of family, friends, military personnel and mourners packed Spencerport Bible Church for the service.

In addition to his wife and children, Allen is survived by his parents, Daniel and Debra Allen of Gates, and sister Rana Allen of Gates.

“Freedom is not free,” said Balentine. “That's not a slogan: It's reality.”

Soldier ‘Stepped Up to Serve His Country'

Like so many of his peers, Nekl Allen felt compelled to serve his country after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. And joining an ever-increasing number of his fellow soldiers, Allen was buried Thursday morning at Arlington National Cemetery.

Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen, 29, of Rochester, New York, was killed September 12, 2009, in Wardak province, Afghanistan, along with Spc. Daniel L. Cox, 23, of Parsons, Kansas. Enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device and small arms fire, the Defense Department reported.

Allen and Cox were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) based at Fort Drum, New York.

Allen's father-in-law said in a eulogy last month that Allen enlisted in response to the attacks and found service to be a good fit.

“He stepped up to serve his country because he knew it was his duty and the right thing to do,” Mike Meehan told the Associated Press. “Army life agreed with him and he reenlisted twice.”

Allen, who was known as “Nicky,” was a family man who enjoyed spending time with his wife, Amy, and children Christopher, 10, Michael, 7, and Grace, 5, according to the Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester.

Meehan described Allan as courteous, kind and always looking out for his men. He said Allen “would always choose the hard right over the easy wrong.”

“He loved life and lived it to the fullest,” Meehan said. “It was a joy being around Nick, he had a way of making you feel special.”
Allen's wife and his parents, Daniel and Debra Allen, received folded flags at Thursday's service.

Allen joined the Army in May 2002 and was on his third deployment, according to his base. He had also served in Iraq. He received several awards and decorations including the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal and National Defense Service Medal.

He was buried in Arlington's Section 60, becoming the 107th soldier from Afghanistan buried at the cemetery and the 571st casualty from both wars to be buried there.


Sergeant Allen was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery on Thursday, 8 October 2009, following services in the Memorial Chapel at Fort Myer, Virginia.

Arlington National Cemetery Website Photo

Honor guard members carry the casket of Army Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen during burial services at
Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009

Michael Allen

Michael Allen, 7, watches as the casket of his father Army Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen is positioned by
the honor guard during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009

Grace Allen, Amy L. Allen, Michael Allen, Christopher Berry

Honor guard members fold the flag that covered the casket of Army Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen
at his burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009

Grace Allen, Amy L. Allen, Michael Allen, Christopher Berry

From left: daughter Grace Allen, 5, widow Amy L. Allen, son Michael Allen, 7, son Christopher Berry, 10, are seated
at the burial services of Army Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009.

James L. Terry, Grace Allen

Major General James L. Terry, left, presents a flag to five-year-old Grace Allen, daughter of Army Staff Sergeant. Nekl B. Allen,
at her father's burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 200

Grace Allen, Amy L. Allen, Michael Allen, Christopher Berry, Debra Allen, Daniel Allen

Surviving family members of Army Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen hold flags presented to them at Allen's burial
services at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009

John McHugh

Army Secretary John McHugh stands above the casket of Army Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen, during burial
services at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009

John McHugh, Amy L. Allen, Grace Allen, Michael Allen, Christopher Berry

Army Secretary John McHugh, left, speaks with widow Amy L. Allen as her children, from left to right: Grace Allen, 5, Michael Allen, 7,
and Christopher Berry, 10, look on at the burial services of Army Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009

Arlington National Cemetery Website Photo

A bugler plays ‘Taps' at the burial service for Army Staff Sergeant. Nekl B. Allen at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009

Amy L. Allen, Michael Allen

Widow Amy L. Allen stands with her son Michael Allen, 7, during the playing of ‘Taps' at the burial service of Army
Staff Sergeant Nekl B. Allen at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009

Arlington National Cemetery Website Photo

Honor guard members stand at attention during the playing of ‘Taps' at the burial service of Army Staff Sergeant
Nekl B. Allen at Arlington National Cemetery Thursday, October 8, 2009

John Aguiar

John Aguiar, from Fall River, Massachusetts, of the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association, who served with
Army Staff Sergeant. Nekl B. Allen, rests on his casket at the end of burial services at Arlington National Cemetery Tursday, October 8, 2009

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ALLEN, NEKL B
SSG   US ARMY
DATE OF BIRTH: 08/16/1980
DATE OF DEATH: 09/12/2009
BURIED AT: SECTION 60  SITE 8941
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

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