Chuck Allen and Delta
by Jim Tolbert
 

Special Project Delta, Detachment B-52, 5th Special Forces Group, Vietnam, was an intelligence gathering organization with the primary mission of recon. It existed from 1964 to 1970. During that time, it had no less than 17 commanders, ranked Captain thru LTC. The average time these individuals spent in command of Delta was five months. I served under eight of these men. Of these, Charles A. (Chuck) Allen, later LTC retired, and now deceased, was head and shoulders above the rest. His call sign was BRUISER.

Allen was a no nonsense individual when it came to operations. The mission came first, and whatever it took, he gave. He required the same of those under him. On an operation out of Khe Sahn, at a time when officers were recon team leaders, a young, newly assigned officer radioed Bruiser in the C&C ship to tell him he had left his weapon on the chopper. He asked for extraction. Bruiser's answer was, "cut a fucking spear and continue the mission". He left that officer on the ground 7 days without a weapon. A team member later said he carried a hand grenade throughout the entire patrol. This same young officer learned a hard lesson, and went on to became an outstanding soldier. Allen later awarded him a Silver Star for an action with the Rangers.


MAJ Charles A. Allen (Bruiser)
Project Delta CO July '67- June '68

Chuck Allen was a big easygoing feller. He weighed in at around 250 pounds, and not an ounce of fat anywhere. He always had that innocent looking almost juvenile expression on his face, as if he was the only one who didn't know what was going on. When he grinned, which was a lot, you could see he had chipped a tooth somewhere along the way, and this made him look even more like a big kid. But Allen knew more than most about all that mattered, and he conducted Delta's recon operations like he had written the book. It's true the SF NCO went on the ground, got down, and did the dirty dancing, but Charles Allen played the music, and he was never out of key.

I served under then, Maj Allen, for 17 of the 18 months he was in Delta, and had never seen anyone rattle his cage. I had never really seen him get too excited about anything, until the night they refer to as, "Tears of Joy". The sun had already gone down that day; I was on CQ, and sitting in the orderly room reading. The LLDB were having a staff meeting in the rear of the building. All at once, the front door flew open, and in charged Bruiser. He was bent over holding his sides and crying as he ran by me toward his office. Scared the hell out of me, especially when I got a whiff of the CS Gas cloud that followed him in. Scared hell out of the LLDB too. When he broke into the office heading for the sink, it broke up their meeting. It was a good five minutes before he could talk well enough to tell me what had happened. Someone put a CS grenade in the return air vent at the officer's club.

Delta Project achieved its highest level of success under Chuck Allen, who served 18 months there. He was assigned to the project as DCO/S3 when Major James Asente was CO, became the commander in July 1967 at the FOB at Ahn Hoa, and served in that position longer than any other commander.

Although Delta was adequately staffed with competent operational personnel, Allen took personal charge of every insertion/extraction, flying over 1500 missions in the Command and Control aircraft. During his time as commander; Project Delta received the Presidential Unit Commendation, Valorous Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Unit Commendation, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Civic Action Medal 1st Class, and Civic Action Honor Medal. Several of these commendations were awarded to the Project twice. And Allen was awarded a Silver Star while he commanded Delta Project.

LTC Charles A. Allen (Ret) died at age 71 in 2003 from complications of bone disease. He was recovering from a stroke, following removal of one leg, had a heart attack, and died in Cape Fear Valley Hospital, Fayetteville, North Carolina.
 

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