Thursday, March 01, 2007

Chad M. Allen killed during combat operations

A 25-year-old Marine from Maple Lake, Minn., died Wednesday when a bomb exploded in Iraq, two days after a soldier with strong Minnesota ties died in a similar explosion.

Sgt. Chad M. Allen, whom his father described as a "very well loved young man," was killed while driving a light-armored vehicle in the Anbar Province.

He was on his second deployment in Iraq and was scheduled to leave the Marines on May 1, said his father, Steve Allen of Danbury, Wis.

On Monday, former Coon Rapids resident Army Sgt. William (B.J.) Beardsley, 25, was killed by a roadside bomb in Diwaniyah, about 100 miles south of Baghdad.

He and Allen were the 52nd and 53rd people with Minnesota ties to die in connection with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Allen joined the Marines the day after the Sept. 11 attacks, said his mother, Deborah Allen, also of Danbury. "He was going to save his family from harm," she said Thursday.

His parents said he volunteered for a second tour of duty in Iraq to take the place of an injured fellow Marine.

Allen was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Allen's father said his son had told him Sunday that he had been promoted to sergeant. Chad, the second of four children, had grown up in Maple Lake and graduated from high school there.

Bart Kilgo, Allen's friend since kindergarten, said, "He was an all-around great person, the best friend I ever had," Kilgo said Thursday night.

The two played high school football together -- Allen played guard on offense and linebacker on defense -- and remained close friends even throughout their military careers.

Kilgo left the Marines after serving two tours in Iraq.

Allen worked for a car wash and a landscape company before joining the Marines.

He loved to fish, ride his motorcycle, and was homecoming king in high school, his mother said. "He was awesome, he was the coolest kid," she said. "He was very happy, very outgoing, never could sit still for a minute."

From the Star Tribune