Photo of the Day: A Hero Remembered

Arlington Patch's Photo of the Day for Wednesday, Sept. 19.

The following is from the Town of Arlington.

TSgt. Allen Jones Avery
United States Air Force
April 6, 1972
Age 29

Allen Avery was born on Feb. 22, 1943, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He relocated to Arlington in the late 1950s and attended Arlington High School where he graduated in 1961.

Sgt. Avery served his country with distinction throughout a long and varied career, which included assignments in the United States, the Pacific and Vietnam. He enlisted in the United States Air Force on July 3, 1961, shortly after graduation from high school. After completion of basic military training, he began his first assignment as an administrative specialist. In 1965, he crossed trained into the search and rescue field and received extensive training in parachuting, rescue and survival medicine, scuba diving as well as the techniques of Pararescue.

In August of 1968, he was assigned the 37th Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Squadron at Danang AFB, Vietnam. Sgt. Avery participated in numerous missions while under intense hostile fire. At the completion of his first tour, he returned to Elgin AFB, Fla., for advanced rescue training.

In September of 1970, he returned to Danang AFB for a second tour. His dedication, professionalism and bravery earned him many awards.

TSgt. Avery was “Killed In Action” on April 6, 1972, while attempting to rescue survivors of a downed American aircraft from certain death capture. Flying into a heavily defended area his aircraft encountered severe hostile ground first rendering the aircraft uncontrollable at extremely low altitude, which resulted in its crash.

One aircraft, whose call sign was BAT-21, was shot down and the first rescue effort was shot down with another survivor also on the ground. That is when TSgt. Avery’s Jolly Green 67 crew went into action. Intelligence reports indicated there were some 30,000 enemy troops in the area of the downed airmen. Regardless and with extreme bravery, the Jolly Green 67 attempted for four days to rescue the airmen under intense enemy ground fire. Unfortunately, on the fourth day, the aircraft was hit and crashed, killing those aboard. Their bravery has been documented and immortalized in the 1988 movie BAT-21.

At Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Miss., there is a barracks dedicated to the memory of TSgt. Allen J. Avery. It is named Avery Manor and was dedicated in July of 1975.

On April 6, 2012, TSgt. Avery was officially buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia with full military honors, exactly 40 years from the day he was “Killed In Action.” Of his many medals, most notable are The Silver Star, The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Airman Medal and The Purple Heart.

Awards and Decorations

Silver Star w/ 1 Bronze Oak Leaf, Distinguished Flying Cross w/ 1 Bronze Oak Leaf, Airman Medal, Purple Heart, Air Medal w/3 Silver Oak Leaves, Air Medal w/1 Bronze Oak Leaf, Air Force Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Air Force Unit Award w/2 Bronze Oak Leaves, Air Force Good Conduct Medal w/1 Bronze Oak Leaf, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal w/ 2 Silver Stars, Air Force Longevity Service Award, Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon, Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palms, Vietnam Gallantry Cross w/Palms Unit Citation, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Basic Aircrew Member Badge, Senior Parachutist Badge


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