Allen R. Stevens
U. S. Army
WWII US Military
Platoon Sergeant, 405th Inf Reg, 102 Div, 9th Army
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Allen was born in Toledo, Ohio, to Charles A. and Frances King Stevens. The family moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where Allen's mother died when he was about six years old. His father, a building contractor, lost his job in the Depression. Allen went to live with his grandmother in Bessemer, Alabama, while Charles moved to Bossier City and re-married. Allen moved to Louisiana in 1935. He played football at Bossier High School, joined the National Guard, and worked nights and weekends for United Wholesale Produce. He bought a 1931 Model A Ford with a rumble seat, purchasing gas for six cents a gallon. He recalls driving out to Crescent Beach at Cross Lake to dance to a nickelodeon. Soon after graduating high school in 1938 he married his long-time sweetheart, Alida Lambeth on June 10, 1938. They would have one child, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Allen studied at Louisiana State Normal for two years. He returned to the Shreveport-Bossier City area where he worked as an apprentice carpenter before purchasing a candy business with a partner. He soon bought out his partner, and then bought a service station. Allen, recently discharged from the National Guard, was drafted and entered the U.S. Army on June 26, 1941. He was sent to Camp Livingston near Alexandria, and then to Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He was sent on to Camp Wheeler near Macon, Georgia, an infantry training center, where he did clerical work and ran the projector at the camp theater, for three-and-a-half years. Alida also worked at the camp as a job evaluator for civilian personnel. The couple's daughter was born at the camp hospital, where her delivery cost $6.10. Allen was promoted to sergeant major in the Army Specialist Training Program. He was transferred to Camp Robinson near Little Rock, Arkansas, to set up a clerk school. From there he was sent to Fort Miles Standish in Massachusetts, and sailed on the Aquatania, on which he served as an MP. After arriving in England he crossed the English Channel to LeHavre, France. Originally he was to be assigned to 9h Army Headquarters, but found all the slots for his rank filled at division, regiment, and battalion levels. He ended up as a platoon sergeant of Company C of the 405th Infantry Regiment. During four months of combat Allen saw h all his platoon leaders (usually lieutenants) killed or wounded. Allen was wounded twice, first by shrapnel, and then by a sniper. Both wounds qualified him for Purple Hearts. He also earned a Bronze Star and was offered a battlefield commission but refused it. The second time he was wounded he was evacuated to a hospital, probably in Brussels, he says, and then to an American hospital in England. He was sent home on a hospital ship, arriving in Brooklyn after VE Day. He was discharged from the service at Brooks Army Hospital in San Antonio. One week after coming home to Shreveport, Allen went to work for Illinois Central Railroad in clerical duties. In 1981 he retired after forty-one years with the railroad.