Courtesy of Thomas E. Allen, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Air Force (retired): January 2006
Senior Master Sergeant Thomas Lorenzo Allen, United States Air Force, Retired, was a Washingtonian all his life. He graduated from Armstrong Technical High School, and had a year in electrical engineering at Howard University. As a child, he started his Lionel train collection, loved erector sets (building stuff), and chemical experiments.
At Armstrong he played football known as “JUGHEAD,” and sang in the male gospel ensemble. At 16 years old, he was one of the youngest teenagers to obtain a Washington D.C. motorcycle drivers license riding an Indian and Harley motorcycle. While riding, he wore his leather High School football helmet for safety. He used to tell stories where he was arrested throughout the Washington Metropolitan area while riding these motorcycles — you see he looked too young to ride them and never was charged for any wrong doing!
Since childhood “Tommy” has been a member of Brown's Memorial AME Church. He has a rich history with the church. …..going back over 130 years of family affiliation! He participated in the Sunday School, and on special programs such as duets with his cousin.
Throughout his military career he was a military policeman, aircrew member, and a precision measurement equipment technician. Tommy traveled all over the world, and served in both Korean and Vietnam Wars. From 1969 to 1973, he flew combat and transport missions in Vietnam — unfortunately in one of the missions he was drenched with “Agent Orange.” Throughout his career he loved to take pictures and movies. “Tommy” earned an Air Medal, Air Force Commendation Medals, and other campaign and service decorations.
After military retirement Tommy started a new career as a network expert with COMSAT, INTELSAT, MCI, Perot Systems, and First Union Bank. One of the highlights of his new career, was that the Zaire government would not let him leave the country without being interviewed by the national news…..
At 67 years old, Tommy bought his first Harley Motorcycle. Later, he converted his son Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Ernest Allen, United States Air Force, retired and taught him to ride the Harley. Known as BUBBA and BUBBA junior, they both rode Harleys non-stop. They both participated in Rolling Thunder and loved being part of the Harley-Davidson Fort Washington Chapter!
One of the proudest moments was that his son Thomas Ernest Allen, earned the Defense Superior Service Medal.
He is survived by his wife Lina Germaine (Lutz) Allen, whom he shared 47 years of marriage, and sons Thomas E. Allen, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF, retired, and Wilbur; daughter-in-law Denise; grandchildren Mimi, Thomas Jr., Danielle, and Howard Bonds, a host of family, and Harley HOG friends.
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard