Charles Gilpin Allen
Charles Gilpin Allen
  • February 22, 1919 - November 8, 2016
  • Escondido, California

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Charles (Chuck) G. Allen was the son of LA City Councilman Charles A. Allen and Nellie Elizabeth Sappington. He was a member of the Palos Verde Surfing club and attended UCLA for three years, departing in 1939 to join the Army Air Corps a flying cadet. He graduated in October, 1940 as a pilot and 2nd Lieutenant. He advanced rapidly from instructor to echelon commander, to training group commander, to director of flying and training group commander. Over the course of his career, Chuck flew over 25 types of aircraft and logged over 8000 hours in the cockpit, earning command pilot wings and achieving the rank of colonel. Along the way he earned a Bachelor and Master of Science Degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Purdue University, graduating summa cum laude.

Following WW II, he served as a B-29 squadron commander in he Philippines and Director of Operations for the Far East Air Forces in Japan. As Chief of the Fighter Division in Wright-Patterson's Air Research and Development Command from 1952-1957, he oversaw the development, test and fielding of all fighter aircraft, from the F-84 to the F-107, as well as research aircraft from the X-1 to X-15. After graduating from the Air War College in 1958, he assumed base command of Vandenberg AFB, building that facility into the Air Force's premier space and missile test center.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1963, he joined North American Aviation (later Rockwell International) as Director of Operations. He was sent to the Mississippi Test Facility to solve cost and schedule problems associated with testing the second stage of the Saturn S-V rocket, a critical part of putting a man on the moon. He retired after 17 years at Rockwell, becoming a management consultant, primarily to Hercules and Alliant Tech Systems.

Chuck was predeceased by his sister, Elizabeth, and his oldest son, Charles Christian. He is survived by his wife, Margarette; three sons, Thomas Lee, William Brett and Douglas Anthony; daughter Virginia Maureen Barre and two step-daughters, Marilyn Braden and Cheryl Kretchmar. He is also survived by 17 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. No one could ask for a fuller life and no man could have given more to his family and to his country.