By Tech. Sgt. Rachelle Blake, 55th Wing Public Affairs
/ Published June 23, 2017
Col. Michael Manion, 55th Wing commander, presents Dudley Allen, 55th Force Support Squadron management analyst, with the 2016 Air Force Volunteer Excellence Award during the 55th Wing staff meeting June 12 at the base conference center.
Dudley Allen, 55th Force Support Squadron management analyst, assists a boy scout with radio operations.
Lt. Col. McCullough presents Senior Master Sgt. Dudley Allen with an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal certificate for his achievements during Operation Southern Watch in 2000.
Raised on a small cattle farm in the southern part of Arkansas, a sense of community was instilled in him from a young age, inevitably earning him the Air Force’s 2016 Volunteer Excellence Award.
“I grew up in the country where if somebody needed help, you got in the truck and you went and helped them,” said Dudley Allen, 55th Force Support Squadron management analyst. “If we needed help, they got in the truck and they came and helped us. If you needed to borrow a tractor, you called and said ‘can I borrow the tractor.’ It was just one family helping another and vice versa.”
His sense of camaraderie was enhanced even further over his more than two decades serving in the United States Air Force as a telephone maintenance Airman, more casually referred to as a “Wire Dawg.”
Allen’s most significant contributions began in the 1990s with a permanent change of station from Wiesbaden, Germany, to Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. He began working with Brush-Up Nebraska in 1994, a program that provides a fresh coat of paint to houses owned by the elderly and disabled.
“One of the earlier houses we painted was owned by an elderly lady who had no support,” Allen said. “All you could see was the front of the house sticking out of a thicket. We had to go on with chain saws to cut the house out of the thicket in order to paint.”
He said it was more work than they were expecting but when it was all said and done, the whole crew said it was a lot of fun.
Allen also took on the responsibility of being the Offutt Blood Drive coordinator during a time when the drives were needed more than ever.
“The milestone during that period was the necessity to create a major marketing push,” he said. “We needed to replace nearly half the regular donor population who were no longer able to donate because of new restrictions due to “Mad Cow” Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.”
They were successful and maintained the same number of donors over the transition period.
Allen retired from the service in 2003 but it did not slow him down. When his son started 1st grade and enrolled in the Cub Scouts, he was presented with a new opportunity.
“I fulfilled the Pack 37 Committee Chair position for a few years,” Allen said. “During that same period, I coordinated service projects for the troop to include places such as the Open Door Mission and Gifford Farm Education Unit.”
At age 11, his son moved on to become a Boy Scout and Allen made the transition as well becoming a Scoutmaster. After three years, he passed the duty to someone else in order to delve into a new hobby that had peaked his interest while helping his son earn the Radio Merit Badge.
“I studied for and earned the Amateur Radio Technician license in 2010 followed by the Amateur Radio General license in 2011,” Allen said. “Along the way, I discovered a Boy Scout program called Radio Scouting that was in need of assistance within the local Mid-America Council.”
Allen gathered some friends and they have been coordinating Wagon Wheel district participation in Jamboree on the Air (JOTA). JOTA is the world's largest scouting event and enables scouts across the globe to pair up with radio operators over high frequency radio. His team of radio operators set up their personal radio gear and allow scouts to talk with other scouts far and wide.
In 2016, the event featured 19 scouts contacting the International Space Station. The initiative was so successful, they now provide Radio Merit Badge instruction at regional Merit Badge universities. After so many years of dedication, Allen's work has gained notoriety and he has been asked by the Mid-America Council to chair their Science, Technology, Engineering and Math committee. He said he hopes to improve STEM program participation by developing improved opportunities and initiatives for the nearly 20,000 scouts in the 11 districts housed under the Mid-America council.
The Boy Scouts are always looking for volunteers. To get involved, visit www.mac-bsa.org