Delaware, Ohio - Nov 20, 2018
WORLD WAR II CO-PILOT TO FLY AGAIN ON 100TH BIRTHDAY ON NOV. 21
Charles Delton Allen, a pilot who flew combat missions in World War II and Vietnam, hopes to fly a plane one more time – on Nov. 21, his 100th birthday.
If the weather cooperates, he’ll do just that. Allen is scheduled to fly at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 21 at Delaware Municipal Airport, 1025 Pittsburgh Drive in Delaware. He will take off and land a Cessna 172 plane under the guidance of a flight instructor with Spencer Aviation in Delaware.
After his flight, Allen will return to Willow Brook at Delaware Run, the retirement community where he lives, for a birthday party at 2 p.m. The public is invited. Willow Brook at Delaware Run is located at 100 Delaware Crossing West in Delaware.
It’s only natural that a man who has logged 6,500 hours of flight would set his sights on the sky for his 100th birthday. Allen served in the US Air Force from 1941-71, retiring as Lt. Colonel. He flew 14 combat missions in World War II and 17 missions in Vietnam. Allen won a Purple Heart, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Air Metals and a Bronze Star.
“I always wanted to fly, even as a child,” said Allen, who was fascinated by the few airplanes that flew over his Oklahoma. “I kept thinking, if only I could fly…”
It was his destiny. Allen entered the US Army Air Corps in 1941 and served as a B-24 co-pilot. On his seventh European mission, he and his crew had to bail out at 12,000 feet over the mountains of Yugoslavia. They spent 42 days evading German forces with the help of Yugoslav partisans before being picked up by American planes and returned to their base in Italy.
Wounded by shrapnel on his 14th mission, Allen returned to the United States to serve. After the war, he was assigned to the Strategic Air Command, which operated the nation’s nuclear strike forces during the Cold War.
Allen, a lieutenant colonel, was stationed at Lockbourne Air Force Base (now Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base). In 1959 he had to pilot a B-47 bomber for nearly 12 hours while trying to determine why an instrument was indicating that the landing gear had failed to lock. Three midair refuelings kept the jet in the air before Allen landed on a runway covered in flame-retarding foam. A faulty electrical connection was the reason for the landing-gear alert.
Allen returned to combat in Vietnam, flying B-52 bombers on 17 missions. After serving 30 years in the Air Force, Allen retired in 1971.
A family man, Allen married his wife, Helen, in 1942, when he was on a three-day leave. He was 23, and Helen was 19. They were married 59 years. Helen died in 2001, and their only child, Douglas, died in 2010.
Allen has close friends at Willow Brook at Delaware Run, where he works out in the fitness room every day and plays poker and euchre. He still drives and attends church regularly. He’s been especially busy the past two months, attending air shows and other special events.
Willow Brook will honor him at a birthday party Nov. 21 at 2 p.m. at Willow Brook at Delaware Run, 100 Delaware Crossing West in Delaware, off West William St/Rte 36.
*Flight subject to change due to weather. Call Erin below to confirm
100 Delaware Crossing West
Delaware, OH 43015