S/Sgt. John Allen Jr. was a medic in the 716th Squadron and one of only 25 members of the 449th BG(H) to be awarded the Soldier’s Medal, the Army’s highest award for non-combat bravery.

S/Sgt. was one of only a few ground personnel to fly to Grottaglie. He arrived in mid December and was responsible for setting up and ordering supplies for the medic stations so they would be ready once the entire group was on base.

S/Sgt. and two of his fellow 716th Medics were awarded the Soldier’s Medal for responding to the crash of a British plane near the base. Despite the plane being consumed by fire and ammunition exploding, the three of them entered the plane six times, bringing out a crew member each time. They were credited with saving the lives of three of the crew members by putting their own lives in jeopardy.

John went on to be a veterinarian after the war and passed away in the fall of 2016. He loved his 449th BGA reunions!

Alan R. Davis (son-in-law)
Chillicothe, Ohio, USA

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