• December 26, 2014

Allan Mandell On Sports Fun fishing and remembering proud American

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Posted: Sunday, April 6, 2014 1:55 am

Brian Allen, 27, of Washington, D.C., said “there is absolutely nothing” in the world which could have kept him from being present at Stillhouse Hollow Lake on Saturday.

The Brigadier General Charles B. Allen 5th Annual Memorial Bass Tournament began at 5 a.m. Saturday and concluded at 1 p.m.

So Allen flew into Texas on Friday and left for home late-Saturday afternoon.

“My fishing partner and I caught a dozen fish today, but only one was a keeper,” Brian said. “But we had a great time. Catching fish is really only the icing on the cake. Most importantly, I get to hear stories about my dad here. It’s a wonderful event. I want to thank Lt. Col. Jon Velishka who does so much for the event — it’s wonderful that he still has such warm memories of my father. I also want to thank 2nd Lt. James Washburn and the 41st Fires Brigade for all they do for this event.”

Allen is a public sector consultant and is finishing his MBA at Georgetown University.

“This event means so much to my family and me,” Allen said. “I’ve never missed one and it’s very important that I’m here. It’s not only import to represent my family, but also to honor all those that serve here and support everyone who help keep alive the memory of my father.”

Brig. Gen. Charles B. Allen was born in Alaska in 1955, and later his family moved to Oklahoma.

“My dad loved the Dallas Cowboys because they were the closest NFL team to Oklahoma,” Brian said. “He also became a big follower of the Oklahoma Sooners football team. He was a huge sports fan. He became a huge fan of the Boston Red Sox right after Carl Yastrzemski won the triple crown (1967).”

Brian is a big sports fan, too. Like father, like son. Well, mostly.

“I root for the Cowboys and root for the Sooners,” Brian said. “But the Red Sox are not quite as big a deal to me. Because of where I’ve lived the past four or five years, I root for the Washington Nationals.”

Charles Allen was a second-generation artilleryman.

“My father’s father was also in the army, but unfortunately he died before I was born,” Brian said. “My father was proud to be an American, proud to be in the United States Army. He was so proud that he was a second-generation artilleryman.”

Brian’s father and mother (Cynthia) met in Oklahoma, married and had two children. Today, Brian’s sister Laura, 30, lives in the same Virginia neighborhood as their mother.

While serving at Fort Hood, Brig. Gen. Allen grew fond of Stillhouse Hollow Lake and Belton Lake.

“My dad was such an avid fisherman,” Brian said. “We bonded and got to know each other better by being out on the lakes here and fishing.

“My dad was my absolute best friend. I confided in him so much. He had as great an impact on me as anyone.

“He loved what he did. He got to lead troops. He loved soldiers. He loved leading the men and women that he commanded.”

On Nov. 29, 2004, Brian was in his first semester at the University of Virginia.

“My ROTC commander called me in his office that day, and it was just numbing,” Brian said. “It was unbelievable what I heard.”

Brig. Gen. Allen and six other military personnel had died in a Texas helicopter crash.

Brig. Gen. Allen was 54 years old.

“A tragedy like this can either make a family or break them,” Brian said. “It was a long grieving process. But my family got closer, and that’s exactly what my dad would have wanted.”

There were 27 fishing teams competing on Saturday. The money raised will go to military charities.

“It’s so wonderful that people here, who knew my father so well, still want to pay tribute to him,” Brian said.

“For me, for as short a time as I had him, I could not have asked for a better father.”

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