NCDUs Allen, John C.

John Robertson

Staff member
John C.
  • UNIT
  • RANK
Silver Star
Normandy 1944


Silver Star : The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star to Ensign (CEC) John C. Allen (NSN: 0-282188), United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action during the assault on France on 8 June 1944. Ensign Allen was Officer-in-Charge of a Naval Combat Demolition Unit which was assigned the hazardous and difficult job of blowing a fifty yard gap in enemy beach obstacles. When enemy gunfire dispersed and wiped out members of his and adjoining units, Ensign Allen directed the reorganization of remnants of the other units and proceeded to clear gaps in spite of intense enemy gunfire and heavy loss in members and material of his unit. When his mission was finally completed, he took the responsibility of directing the clearance of adjacent areas and areas to which crews that were completely wiped out had been assigned. In carrying out his duties he exposed himself to enemy gunfire and displayed a high degree of aggressive and fearless leadership to inspire the men under him. The gallantry in action, skill and devotion to duty displayed by Ensign Allen on this occasion were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.

Last edited by a moderator:
Ensign John Allen was the CO for the Navy element of Gap team 15. My grandfather (CCM Francis X. Darcy, Sr.) was the senior non-com of the NCDU #138 and trained with Allen at the Amphibious Training Base Fort Pierce Florida.
My grandfather (Robert J. Stilgenbauer, 111th SeaBees) included a short vignette about John Allen in his written memories of D-Day: “In boot training with us at Camp Peary was an ensign named John Allen. As a civilian, he was a geologist, and immediately nicknamed “Hardrock.” He was a tough guy. Following boot training, he applied for and got accepted by the Underwater Demolition Team. Their training was brutal, they ran everywhere they went, and they were brainwashed into being destructive. They practically chopped their barracks up with machetes. They trained off base when it came to explosives, booby traps, and dirty tricks. John and I got along quite well, and I missed him when he was assigned… someplace. I met John right after “D Day” on Omaha. He was very dejected because he lost 7 of his 9 man team on the Normandy Cliffs. He had no extra clothes or supplies. He wandered away and I never saw him again.”

How wonderful to read that his leadership and bravery were properly recognized.