Hubert Allen, Jr.
U. S. Army
Dates of Service: 2/1970 - 9/1971
Infantryman, 7th Transportation Company, 266 BN
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Hubert, a resident of Keithville, Louisiana, was born in Charity Hospital in Shreveport as the eldest of three sons to Hubert Allen, a cotton farmer, and Lucille Bennett Allen. His boyhood was difficult. He grew up in "a rough area, a ghetto. So you know you almost had to fight every day," he recalls. His neighborhood was gang-infested, and crime-ridden. He saw a man try to shoot his wife, and witnessed the murder of a student near Booker T. Washington High School where he attended. There, a teacher proved to be a positive influence on his young life, especially engendering Hubert's love of history. In high school he participated in the National Defense Cadet Corps, similar to the ROTC. Hubert's grandmother lived with the Allen family, and he credits his mother and grandmother, Anna Vie Victoria Alexandria as great positive influences in his life. "I knew what it would take to raise a family and I knew what they gave up to make us educated," he says. His youngest brother would earn a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. His mother, who worked as a cook in a restaurant and then in private homes, never made more than $30 a week. "I didn't know that we were poor until I got to college and took economics and found how they determine it," he remarks. He graduated in 1964. That summer he drove a delivery truck for Farmer Seafood to help pay his way through college. In the fall he entered Grambling State University. Hubert, a social science major, graduated from Grambling and had entered student teaching when he was drafted. Already he had been married about a year to Rebecca Jackson. (They would have three children, Denita, Sonya Allen and Hubert Allen, Jr., and four grandchildren.) Hubert had planned on entering the military. Already a father of one child with Rebecca, he took basic training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He recalls the infantry training as good but difficult. He also enjoyed learning about different cultures from the men with whom he trained. The first day of advanced individual training in infantry Hubert broke his ankle. He continued in infantry training. He was driven to ranges where "these two great big old white guys would pick me up and tote me to the rifle ranges. I qualified with mortars the M60 machine gun, grenade launchers, all with a cast on my leg," he recalls. He was sent to Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia, then to Vietnam in 1970. The airstrip was being fired up when the plane landed and he got off the plane, running. Hubert was stationed in the mountainous area near the border with North Vietnam and near Ben Hoa Air Force Base. He worked for a General Vance and Lieutenant Henderson delivering supplies, but performed several missions, such as serving in a port security company and duty in hospitals, including in Japan. He remarks that violence he witnessed in boyhood helped him in Vietnam. Hubert served one year and seven days in Vietnam, and attained sergeant rank (E-5). After coming home, he sold life insurance "for about a month" then worked for UPS for 30 years. Vietnam still affects him. "To this day I sleep like I'm on duty. We used to do three hours on, three hours off. My eyes will automatically open in three houses. I could set a clock by my waking up," he remarks. Serving in the military, he says, "made me more active as far as seeking rights."