Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Army Veteran James W. Allen. James served in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

James grew up with a sense of dedication and hard work, cultivated by living with his grandparents on a sharecropper farm in central Florida. It wasn’t until he was 18 that James began to notice the discouraging segregation he and his family faced in Florida. In order to escape the segregation he had grown up with, James enlisted in the Army.

James was recognized for his discipline and determination in basic training and was sent to Leadership School in a recently desegregated environment. He passed his evaluations and then was shipped overseas to Korea in March 1953 with the 7th Infantry Division.

As he shared in an interview with the Veterans History Project, James remembered the apprehension that hung in the air while he and his comrades were shipped off. Though he was originally assigned to artillery, James served as an administrative company clerk for the remainder of the war, and prepared the morning reports each day

After the Korean War ended, James met his wife, Anne Johnson, who was a nurse at the Veterans Hospital at Fort Hamilton. They had five children. When James was sent to Vietnam at the tail-end of the war, he served as the Staff Sergeant responsible for housing management in the Saigon area. He was then assigned to manage the Saigon Area Drug Rehabilitation Service. James received a Bronze Star during his Vietnam service.

Throughout his career, James was given numerous assignments for which he was not trained. When asked about his wide range of experiences, James said, “People look[ed] at me and thought, ‘This guy can do it.’…you learn by doing.”

After 28 years in the military, James retired as a First Sergeant. He moved with his family to Palm Coast, which he was assured was fully integrated. “I didn’t want my kids exposed to segregation,” James said. In his transition into the civilian workforce, James discovered his passion serving his community through Veteran and aging services. He has used his talents and dedication to repeatedly make impactful contributions to his country.

Thank you for your service, James!


Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? You’re in luck! VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to newmedia@va.gov with as much of the information as you can put together with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating for how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.


Graphic created by Kierra Willis:  Kierra Willis is a graphic communication major at the University of Maryland University College. She currently has an AAS in graphic design and visual communications.

Share this story

Published on Oct. 18, 2016

Estimated reading time is 2.7 min.

Views to date: 106

More Stories

  • Army Veteran Hank Welzel served in the Korean War, but his military experience began in the German Army during World War II.

  • Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is Marine Corps Veteran Ronald L. Green, who was the 18th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps.

  • Navy Veteran Calvin Leon Graham became the youngest World War II soldier at the age of 12, and the youngest recipient of the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.