NO. 17760 • 30 Jun 1928 - 25 Dec 2000
Died in Mount Pleasant, SC
Interred in Memorial Gardens, Mount Pleasant, SC
Allan Sarsfield Flynn dedicated his life to the Army and to serving his country. Following in the footsteps of his father, a veteran of both world wars, and his older brother, a WWII veteran, Allan entered West Point in 1946. Thirty two years later, he retired to South Carolina with his love for the Army, his zeal for service, and his sense of humor all still intact.
Allan was born and raised in Gardner, MA, a small mill town in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains. During his senior year at Gardner High School, he captained the football team, representing a team and city full of spirit and pride. After his high school graduation in 1946, he entered West Point later that summer. From an early age, he had always wanted to dedicate his life to serving his country in the armed forces.
On 10 Jun 1950, four days after his West Point graduation, Allan married Irene Crand, his high school sweetheart. They had a three year honeymoon, as he put it, with the "Big Red One" in Germany. While there, he became a father with the birth of their first son, Michael. Allan returned to the States for a three year tour at Ft. Benning, home of the Infantry, where, to use his own words, he taught and was taught, earning both his jump wings and his Ranger tab along the way. Their second son, Stephen, was born during the Ft. Benning tour.
After the Advanced Course in 1956, Allan was separated from his family for the first of three times, serving an 18 month tour in Korea as a company commander. Upon his return to the United States, he joined the 101st Airborne Division at Ft. Campbell. Allan served in the 501st Battalion, and he proudly spoke of its heritage as the first paratrooper battalion during WWII. In 1959, Allan was assigned to serve as an assistant professor of military science at the Ogontz campus of Penn State University. Their third son, David, joined the family in 1961.
In 1962, Allan attended Command and General Staff College at Ft. Leavenworth. He graduated in 1963 and the family then headed overseas again for three years in Naples, Italy. There he served in the headquarters of the Armed Forces South Europe. While in Naples, Allan first became involved with the Boy Scouts, serving as a troop scoutmaster. He would continue his volunteer work with the Boy Scouts off and on for the next 15 years, later earning the Boy Scout’s prestigious Silver Beaver Award. Back in the States in 1966, he joined Ft. Riley’s 9th Division as a brigade executive officer during their preparation for duty in Viet Nam. In December 1966, the division sailed for Viet Nam and, shortly thereafter, Allan assumed command of the 5th Battalion, 60th Infantry. His performance in the division earned him a Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, and countless Air Medals.
He returned home in 1967, with a parcel of war stories that he freely shared throughout the rest of his life. He began a two year tour with Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army, earning a second Legion of Merit. From DC he traveled to Newport, RI, to attend the Naval War College, concurrently earning a master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University.
His next assignment was for two years at Headquarters, Continental Army Command, at Ft. Monroe, VA. In 1972, Allan returned to Viet Nam, where he served in Headquarters, Military Assistance Command, and earned a third Legion of Merit, as well as the Joint Service Commendation Medal. In 1973, Allan brought his experience back to Ft. Bragg, NC, in the XVIIII Airborne Corps, first in Headquarters, then as Corps G 4, and finally, in 1977, as deputy chief of staff.
In 1978, Allan retired as a colonel after nearly 30 years of commissioned service at home and abroad, and headed to Mount Pleasant, SC. Not content to sit around the house telling war stories, he became the general manager of the South Carolina facility of Connecticut based Target industries, which manufactured and installed chair lifts and driving devices for the handicapped. He later earned a real estate license and worked briefly for Max Hill Realtors.
In 1986, he was honored to become a grandfather, a title he carried as proudly as his military titles. Although he accepted full retirement in 1993, he was not content to be idle and volunteered his time at the Naval Hospital in Charleston, as a tutor in an adult literacy program, and on the homeowners association board. He loved tennis and walks on the beach near his Mount Pleasant home and was an avid reader, loved crossword puzzles, took a strong interest in Republican Party politics, and maintained a life long love of opera and poetry.
After a series of physical setbacks, Allan died on Christmas Day. His wife, Irene; sons Michael, Stephen, and David; and grandchildren Joe, Tim, Maggie, Georgia, and Troy survive him.
Allan was proud to have served his country. He willingly endured the rigors and necessary sacrifices of an Army career because he believed in a common good. Those who knew him will remember him as a soldier always.
-- Son David Flynn