Retired July 1, 1982.
General Lew Allen Jr. is the tenth chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force and a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington, D.C.. As chief of staff, he serves as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the administration, training and equipping of a combined active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian force of nearly one million people serving at nearly 3,000 locations in the United States and overseas. As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he and the other service chiefs function as the principal military advisers to the secretary of defense, National Security Council and the president.
General Allen graduated from high school in Gainesville, Texas, in 1942. He entered the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, N.Y., in 1943 and graduated in 1946 with a bachelor of science degree and commission as a second lieutenant. He also was awarded pilot wings upon graduation.
After completing multiengine flight training in November 1946, General Allen was assigned to Strategic Air Command's 7th Bombardment Group at Carswell Air Force Base, Texas, where he flew B-29s and B-36s, and also served in various positions related to nuclear weaponry. He attended the Air Tactical Course at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., and returned to Carswell Air Force Base as an instructor and assistant special weapons officer for the 7th Bombardment Wing.
In September 1950 he entered the University of Illinois for graduate training in nuclear physics and received a master of science degree in 1952. He earned his doctorate degree in physics in 1954 after completing an experimental thesis on high energy photonuclear reactions. General Allen then was assigned to the Atomic Energy Commission's Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in New Mexico as a physicist in the Test Division. He conducted experiments in several of the nuclear test series. These experiments related to the physics of thermonuclear weapons design and to the effects of high altitude nuclear detonations for ballistic missile defense.
From June 1957 to December 1961, General Allen was assigned to Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., as science adviser to the Physics Division of the Air Force Special Weapons Center. He specialized in the military effects of high altitude nuclear explosions and participated in several weapon test series. He was scientific director of a major experiment that utilized a large series of high altitude rockets to measure the characteristics of electrons trapped in the geomagnetic field after an exoatmospheric nuclear burst.
He was assigned in December 1961, to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Space Technology Office in the Directorate of Research and Engineering, Washington, D.C. From June 1965 to February 1973, he was assigned to the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, initially in Los Angeles as deputy director for advanced plans in the Directorate of Special Projects. He moved to the Pentagon in June 1968 as deputy director of space systems and in June 1969 became director. He returned to Los Angeles in September 1970 as assistant to the director of special projects and in April 1971 became director of special projects, with additional duty as deputy commander for satellite programs, Space and Missile Systems Organization.
After serving briefly as chief of staff for Air Force Systems Command at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., General Allen was appointed in March 1973 as deputy to the director of Central Intelligence for the Intelligence Community in Washington, D.C. In August 1973 he became director, National Security Agency and chief, Central Security Service at Fort George G. Meade, Md. In August 1977 he was named commander of Air Force Systems Command.
General Allen served as the vice chief of staff, U.S. Air Force from April 1978 until he assumed his present duties in July 1978.
The general is a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours, and wears the master missile badge. His military decorations and awards include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Service Medal (Air Force), Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Council on Foreign Relations.
He was promoted to general Aug. 1, 1977, with date of rank July 31, 1977.