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Honoring Veterans: Army Veteran Doris Allen

This week’s Honoring Veterans Spotlight honors the service of Army Veteran Doris Allen, who served during the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

Doris I. “Lucki” Allen was born in El Paso, Texas, in May 1927. After graduating with a degree in physical education from Tuskegee University and briefly working as a teacher, she enlisted in the U.S. Army’s Women’s Army Corps (WAC) in 1950. 

After completing basic training in Virginia, Allen was assigned to Japan as an entertainment specialist from 1951 to 1953, where she organized soldier shows and worked as an editor of the military newspaper for the Army Occupation Forces supporting the Korean War. After the war, she was assigned to Camp Stoneman, California, where her sister was her commanding officer. She returned to Japan from 1956 to 1958, and then again returned to the United States, serving as a public information specialist in New Jersey.

In 1963, Allen completed French language training and became the first woman to attend the Prisoner of War Interrogation course at the U.S. Army Intelligence School. In 1967, she deployed to Vietnam as an interrogator and eventually moved into the role of an intelligence analyst. Allen delivered and analyzed valuable intelligence for U.S. forces in Vietnam, in one instance saving at least 101 U.S. Marines fighting in Quang Tri Province. She returned to the U.S. in September 1970 after reading her name on a captured North Vietnamese hit list.

Throughout her service, Allen faced heavy discrimination as a Black woman, as she was passed over for multiple desired assignments and often ignored because of her race. Before the Tet Offensive in 1968, she predicted that a large enemy attack was imminent, but her superiors ignored her and her intelligence. When discussing these challenges, she stated that, “Even when they didn’t believe me, I believed me. You can either give up or you can do what you got to do.” Her resilience and strength in overcoming these challenges has served as an inspiring story for African American and women service members who have followed in her footsteps.

At the end of her service in Vietnam, Allen became a counter-intelligence warrant officer. At the time, she was one of just nine female warrant officers in military intelligence. She continued to serve in this role until she retired in 1980. 

After her service, Allen received a Ph.D. in Psychology and Organizational Development. She wrote a book, “Three Days Past Yesterday: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Incredibility,” in 2014.

For her service, Allen received numerous medals and awards, including three Bronze Star Medals, a  Vietnam Campaign Medal, a Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and two National Defense Service Medals. In 2009, she was inducted into the Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame, becoming one of only two Black women to receive that honor. 

We honor her service.

Nominate a Veteran for Honoring Veterans

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s Honoring Veterans social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. All it takes is an email to ne******@va.gov with as much information as you can put together, along with some good photos. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This Honoring Veterans profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.

Writer: William Beterbide

Editors: Tayler Rairigh, Lillian Williams

Researcher: Charmonie Baugh, Jacoryn Whatley

Graphic Designer: William Vega

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