Music played by the 282nd Army band filled the air as family and friends gathered May 27 outside of 4th Battalion, 39th Infantry Regiment to witness the building dedication ceremony for Maj. Gen. James B. Allen Jr.
Col. Eric Flesch, 165th Infantry Brigade commander, introduced the guest speaker retired Chaplain (Col.) Samuel J.T. Boone, as “no stranger to Fort Jackson.”
“His career culminated here at Fort Jackson as one of our commandants of the US Army Chaplain School. Not only did Chaplain Boone serve with Maj. Gen. Allen, he was also asked to preside over his funeral,” Flesch said.
“What a great day to be a Soldier…” Boone said. “I think we’re standing very close to where General Allen’s battalion headquarters existed back in the 70s. Allen told me they arrived in July of 1972 to Fort Jackson to begin their tour here, when private, E1 Sam Boone was at the bottom of the hill in Alpha 1-1 … little did I know that I would end my Army career here.”
“I got to know General Allen at an American Legion Post dinner, he came up behind me and he pinched the flesh behind my left arm. And let’s just say he had my undivided attention. And he asked me a very simple question, ‘Chaplain, are you taking care of Soldiers and their Families?’ Obviously, my answer was, Yes Sir, in spades. And he said, ‘Good, keep on doing it.’”
Boone spoke about the efforts to honor Allen in some way and thanked everyone who supported this dedication including Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr.
“And what a fitting building for a man who loved Soldiers, loved their families, loved training Soldiers because he knew how important it was,” Boone said.
As he neared the end of his speech, Boone looked to Jo Lynn Allen and said, “Mrs. Allen, we are doing a fitting ceremony for your husband and his legacy on this installation and through our whole Army. Thank you for
keeping that light alive for your boys, and your family, and I thank you again for the honor of being here today to remember General Allen.”
Boone then turned his face skyward, rendered a salute and said, “Sir. Mission accomplished. Well done.”
At the ceremony a plaque was unveiled dedicating the building in Allen’s honor.
At the center of Maj. Gen. Allen Jr. Hall is a plaque that reads:
“Dedicated in memory of Major General James Burrough Allen Jr. (RET) May 18 1933 to April 26, 2017.”
Allen dedicated 35 years of military service to the Army when he retired in December 1990. A native of South Carolina, Allen served multiple tours at Fort Jackson, culminating in an assignment as the deputy commanding general, US Army Training Center and Fort Jackson. As an infantry officer, Allen served two combat tours in South Vietnam. After retirement Allen continued to focus on service to the nation and to Soldiers. He worked at the South Carolina employment security commission for 10 years, developed and managed the state military transition assistance program, and helped establish troops-to-teachers programs at four state universities