Allen remembered at Palmdale High

first_imgAllen also has a younger brother, Adam, who is in the Air Force and is stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. “This is what John would have wanted. He loved to be the center of attention,” said Braxton, who now lives in Redlands. “We were total opposites. I’m serious. He loved life too much.” Allen, 25, and three other soldiers died when a roadside bomb detonated near their vehicle March 17. All four soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, in Fort Bliss, Texas. A second plaque with Allen’s name on it will eventually be mounted in the cafeteria next to an 8-by-4-foot stained-glass artwork made in the 1970s by students to honor 11 alumni who died in the Vietnam War. “Today we ensure his name will be remembered by his alma mater and the community for all time,” Principal Eric Riegert said. The school plaque has blank plates on it should others die serving their country. “We are hopeful the rest of the boxes won’t be filled,” Riegert said. Choir director Michael McCullough said Allen was a member of the school singing ensemble. His favorite song was Anton Bruckner’s “Ave Maria.” Before leading the choir in a song about freedom and peace, McCullough said, “John always felt he could do what it took to get a job done. He felt it would always get better.” Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford also spoke, urging residents to do all they can to support Allen’s family. “As a community, we are here to say we share in your sorrow, hurt and loss, and we are here to show support and pay our regrets,” Ledford said. Allen was a health care specialist who joined the Army in July 2005 and was doing his first tour in Iraq. Allen was buried at Arlington National Cemetery, eight plots away from where his grandfather, an Army master sergeant with whom Allen shares his name, is buried. Allen’s parents recalled their son as a daredevil who loved the outdoors, a musician who taught himself to play the piano and an artist whose work graces the walls of their home. Allen went into the Navy right after high school and served from 1999 to 2003; he enlisted in the Army in 2005. Allen’s military awards and decorations include a Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, and a Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Army officials said. Allen and the other three soldiers were posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PALMDALE – Slain Army Sgt. John E. Allen of Palmdale High School’s Class of 1999 was remembered Friday at his alma mater as a kid who loved life. In a ceremony held at the school’s flagpole, the school choir that Allen had sung with performed, and a memorial plaque was presented to his parents. “I think it’s wonderful that they did this for John and us,” said Allen’s mother, Kellie Allen, after the event. “It’s a very special day.” Other family members present were Allen’s father, Richard; his twin sister, Amanda Braxton; and his wife, Aspen, his high school sweetheart whom he married in July. last_img

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