Vietnam War

Oral History Interview: Steve Allen

A still from a studio interview at WILL-TV.

Steve Allen. Tim Meyers/Illinois Public Media

Allen and some of his squad in the Que Son Valley, Vietnam, in December 1969/January 1970.

Courtesy Steve Allen

Steve Allen is from Newman Illinois. He served as an officer in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam War from 1970-1971. 

In the field in Da Nang, he faced rough conditions and death. He says his faith as a Christian not only grew while in Vietnam, but it was also how he was able to keep himself and his men alive. His faith helped him make moral decisions despite being in war. 

As an officer, he enjoyed talking with and giving advice to his men. He decided to bring that into his life as a civilian and went back to school to get a graduate degree in counseling and then spent his career as a school counselor. Allen’s experiences provide insight into how faith can help someone navigate war, grief, and adapting back to civilian life.

Allen describes the photo at right: "Left front, Greg "Bruno" Boger, holding a K-Bar knife. Greg was highly respected and became a squad leader. Bent over, holding an M-26 grenade is Lane Fatuoa Levi, nicknamed "Little Pineapple", from American Somoa. Levi had a personality that was exceptionally valuable to the platoon and was brave in combat, as all of these young men were. On the bottom right is Richard "Rock" Varga, holding a LAAW (light anit-tank weapon)--a hand fired rocket. Rock became a Navy Seal after his tour of duty in Vietnam. Standing from left is me--Steve Allen, platoon commander. Next to me is Galen Smith.  Next to Smith is Junior Akers, who was killed in action. Next to Akers is Mike Sinor, who was in an earlier picture with an M-79 grenade launcher. Far right is David "Davy" Dobosz, who was Killed in Action. All of these men were tough, loyal and brave."

Central Illinois Vietnam Stories - Steve Allen