Terry De La Mesa Allen, Jr

Lieutenant Colonel
Army of the United States
13 April 1929 - 17 October 1967
El Paso, Texas
Panel 28E Line 018

Distinguished Service Cross

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Terry De La Mesa Allen, Jr

14 May 2005

The son of General Terry Allen who led US forces through Africa and Europe during WWII.

LTC, you didn't make any mistakes that day!

From someone who remembers.
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APO San Francisco 96375

26 Dec 1967



1. TC 320. The following AWARD is announced posthumously.

Terry De La Mesa Allen, Jr Lieutenant Colonel Infantry
2d Battalion, 28th Infantry

Awarded: Distinguished Service Cross
Date action: 17 October 1967
Theater: Republic of Vietnam
Reason: For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations involving conflict with an armed hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam, while serving with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 28th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Allen distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous actions on 17 October 1967 while serving as Commanding Officer of an infantry battalion on a search and destroy operation near Chon Thanh. While moving to locate a suspected enemy base camp, a forward patrol of his unit detected a lone Viet Cong soldier and noises that indicated others were in the area. The element immediately deployed in an attempt to engage the insurgents. It was suddenly attacked by a large enemy force, and Colonel Allen quickly positioned the remainder of his men in a defensive perimeter, established radio contact with the beleaguered patrol, and ordered its withdrawal to his position so that artillery and air strikes could be directed on the hostile positions. As the forward element began to pull back, the main force's flank was savagely attacked with devastating automatic weapons, rocket and claymore weapons fire. Completely disregarding his personal safety, Colonel Allen repeatedly exposed himself to the withering barrage and moved among his men, skillfully directing the defenses and encouraging his troops to fight fiercely against the determined attackers. Accurate concentrations of enemy fire inflicted numerous casualties to his men and he was seriously wounded himself, but he refused medical attention and remained in the open to control the defenses and the movement of the forward element which was still attempting to join his main force. He was mortally wounded while gallantly leading his men in the face of overwhelming odds. His fearless actions in the heat of battle inspired his unit to staunchly defend its critical position until reinforcements arrived and the hostile forces were decisively defeated. Lieutenant Colonel Allen's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty, at the cost of his life, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

A Note from The Virtual Wall

Lieutenant Colonel Terry Allen was the Commanding Officer, 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry. His troops had been operating west of the village of Chon Thanh since October 8th, conducting "search and destroy" operations in an area known to be occupied by large Viet Cong forces. Only four of the battalion's five companies (HHC, A, B, and D) were involved; C Company was providing fire base security for the supporting artillery unit.

On the morning of 17 October, Alpha Company led out from the night defensive perimeter on a recon-in-force with the battalion command group in company and Delta Company in trail. Around noontime Alpha was engaged by a very much larger enemy force and Delta Company deployed in support. By the time the remaining forces could deploy in support of the engaged troops, the battalion command group and both Alpha and Delta had sustained very heavy casualties. Charlie Company was air-lifted in to assist Bravo and HHC and by late afternoon the area was secured as the VC forces withdrew.

The fighting on 17 October resulted in 55 men killed in action, 3 who later died of their wounds, two missing in action, and 75 or more wounded. All 65 men in Alpha Company had been killed or wounded, Delta Company was little better off, and the Battalion Commander and his command group were dead.

The Virtual Wall's Ong Thanh memorial summarizes the action and lists the dead. The 2/28's artillery Forward Observer, 2nd Lt Harold Durham (C Btry, 6/15th Arty), received a posthumous Medal of Honor for his actions, and the 15th Arty's memorial includes a newspaper article which gives another account of the battle.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 24 May 2005
Last updated 07/18/2006