While serving in the Army during the Vietnam War, Dr. John Allen became deeply immersed in the culture of the South Vietnamese. After graduating from University of Mississippi, Allen entered the service, was deployed to Vietnam and became a member of a Vietnamese Range Battalion. He operated on the border of Cambodia and Vietnam and was in combat for almost 11 months.
“I lived with the South Vietnamese people, I ate their food, spoke their language and was part of their culture,” he said. “I lived just like they lived – it was very difficult.”
Allen will be offering his perspective of Vietnamese culture at a presentation sponsored by the Eastern Lincoln Historical Society on Monday at 6 p.m. at the Mundy House Annex, located at 4353 Highway 16 North in Denver.
While Allen was serving as a military advisor, he said he went on patrols and ambushes and had to show his fearlessness just like the other men did. During his presentation, Allen will share some of the photographs he took while living with the Vietnamese.
“The most difficult challenge was not having any toilet paper for a year,” he said. “That and going from an American diet to a Vietnamese diet – I lost about 30 pounds.”
Allen served for five years in elite airborne and ranger units and later worked for the Milliken and Company in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Following his retirement, he was employed as a teacher and administrator for Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools for 10 years.
This event is free to attend.