Allen, Terry De La Mesa, Sr., MG

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Last Rank
Major General
Last Service Branch
Last Primary MOS
00GC-Commanding General
Last MOS Group
General Officer
Primary Unit
1943-1945, 104th Infantry Division (Timber Wolves)
Service Years
1912 - 1946


Major General

Ten Overseas Service Bars

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by the Site Administrator to remember Allen, Terry De La Mesa, Sr., MG USA(Ret).
Contact Info
Home Town
Fort Douglas, UT
Last Address
Fort Douglas, UT

Date of Passing
Sep 12, 1969
Location of Interment
Fort Bliss National Cemetery - Fort Bliss, Texas
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Belgian Fourragere Wound Chevron (1917-1932) US Army Retired (Pre-2007) French Fourragere

 Unofficial Badges 

Armor Shoulder Cord

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen, Sr. (April 1, 1888 - September 12, 1969) was a United States Army officer who was featured on the cover of Time magazine during World War II. He was a World War I veteran who during World War II was the commanding general of the First Infantry Division in North Africa and Sicily, and later the commander of the 104th Infantry Division.

Early years

Allen was born in Fort Douglas, Utah to Col. Samuel Allen and Consuelo "Conchita" Alvarez de la Mesa. Allen's family had a long line of military tradition. Besides his father, Allen's maternal grandfather was Colonel Carlos de la Mesa, a Spanish national who fought at Gettysburg for the Union Army in the Spanish Company of the "Garibaldi Guard" of the 39th New York State Volunteers, during the American Civil War. Allen grew up in various military bases because of his father's military career and in 1907, received an appointment to the United States Military Academy (West Point) in New York.

Military career

There were certain factors which affected Allen's performance at West Point and which would led up to his eventual dismissal from said military institution. One of them was that he began to stutter and soon fell behind in his classes. Another was that he was held back a grade in his second year because he failed mathematics. Finally, he failed an ordnance and gunnery course.

Allen enrolled and attended the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1912. He joined the Army once more and after passing the competitive Army officers exam, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant and assigned to Fort Meyer in Virginia. In 1913, he was reassigned to the 14th Cavalry at Eagle Pass, Texas and served there until 1917. During this time he pursued and captured ammunition smugglers and served on border duty. He was promoted twice, the first on July 1, 1916, to First Lieutenant and the second on May 15, 1917 when he was promoted to Captain.

World War I

On June 7, 1918, a year and two months after the United States declared war against Germany and entered World War I, Allen was sent to France and assigned to the 315th Ammunition Train. Allen showed up at a school for infantry officers the day before a class graduation. When the commandant of the school began to hand out certificates to the graduates, Allen lined up with them. When confronted with him the commandant said "I don't remember you in this class." "I'm Allen-why don't you?" was the reply. Without further due, Allen was given the certificate and became a temporary major.

Allen was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 358th Infantry Regiment, 90th Division which he led into battle at St. Mihiel and Aincreville. During one battle Allen received a bullet through his jaw and mouth and as a result of the wound never stuttered again. He was awarded a Silver Star and a Purple Heart for his actions. Allen remained with the American Expeditionary Forces in France until the Armistice with Germany (Compiègne). He then served with the Army of Occupation in Germany until 1920 when he returned to the United States.

Pre World War II

After Allen returned to the United States, his temporary rank of Major was reverted to Captain until July 1, 1920 when he was fully promoted to Major. He served in Camp Travis and later in Fort McIntosh, both located in Texas. In 1922, Allen was assigned to the 61st Cavalry Division, at New York City.

He continued to take military related courses, among them: an advanced course in Cavalry School, Fort Riley, Kansas; a two year program at Fort Leavenworth's Command & General Staff School; a course in the Infantry School at Fort Benning and an interim course in infantry command with other divisions. In 1928, he married Mary Frances Robinson of El Paso, Texas with whom in 1929 he had a son, Terry de la Mesa Allen, Jr.  On August 1, 1935, Allen was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and became an instructor at the Cavalry School at Fort Riley in Kansas. He wrote and published "Reconnaissance by horse cavalry regiments and smaller units" in 1939. On October 1, 1940, General George Marshall promoted him to Brigadier General (without ever holding the rank of Colonel) and in 1942, he was promoted to Major General and given command of the 1st Infantry Division.

World War II

In 1942, the 1st Infantry Division was sent to Britain where they underwent further combat training, which included training in amphibious warfare. The division participated in the invasion of North Africa under the command of General George S. Patton. The division landed in Oran, Algeria on November 8, 1942, as part of Operation Torch. Elements of the division then took part in combat at Maktar, Medjez el Bab, Kasserine Pass, Gafsa, El Guettar, Béja, and Mateur, from January 21, 1943 to May 9, 1943, helping secure Tunisia. In July, 1943, the division supported other units in the invasion of Sicily and took part in Operation Husky.

Allen and his second in command Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (son of former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt) distinguished themselves as combat leaders. Another associate under his command, was Chief of Staff, Norman Cota, who would later play an important military role in The Invasion of Normandy. In spite the success However, General Patton was critical of both Allen and Roosevelt and asked General Dwight D. Eisenhower permission to relieve both Allen and Roosevelt of their commands on the theory of rotation of command. On August 7, 1943, Allen was relieved of his command by Major General Clarence R. Huebner.

Allen, who was featured on the cover of Time Magazine on August 9, 1943, was reassigned to command the 104th Infantry Division, known as the Timberwolf Division. Some 34,000 men served with the division under Allen's command and fought for 195 consecutive days after landing in France on September 7, 1944. The division's first action came in October of 1944 during the taking of Achtmaal and Zundert in Holland. It then participated in the Battle of the Bulge, advanced through the Siegfried line and across the Inde River into Cologne, and it helped complete the encirclement of the Ruhr pocket. Finally, it made a 350-mile sweep to the Mulde River in the heart of Germany. The division which became renowned for its night fighting prowess, was deactivated in June 1946 upon its return to the United States at the end of the war.

Later years

Allen retired from the Army on August 31, 1946. For a number of years he served as a representative for various insurance companies in El Paso and was active in civic affairs and in veteran organizations. In October 1967, Allen's son, Lieutenant Colonel Terry de la Mesa Allen, Jr., was killed in the Vietnam War, while commanding the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment (United States) {Aka "Black Lions"}, a unit of the 1st Infantry Division (United States), which his father had commanded in World War II. Major General Terry de la Mesa Allen, Sr., died of natural causes on September 12, 1969, in El Paso, Texas, at the age of 81. He was buried, alongside his son, in the Fort Bliss National Cemetery with full military honors. The United States Military Academy presents the "General Terry de la Mesa Allen Award" to the student with the highest rating in Military Science.

Other Comments:

Foreign Decorations

  •   Honorable Order of the Bath - United Kingdom

  •   French Croix de Guerre with Palm medals - France

  •   St. Mihiel Medal- France

  •   Order of Suvorov Class II (Gold) - USSR

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 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry90th Infantry DivisionU.S. Army61st Cavalry Division
Command and General Staff College (CGSC) CourseInfantry Officer Advanced CourseArmy War College (Staff)7th US Cavalry
3rd Cavalry Division2nd Cavalry Division36th Infantry Division1st Infantry Division
104th Infantry Division (Timber Wolves)
  1913-1917, 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry
  1918-1919, 90th Infantry Division
  1919-1920, American Expeditionary Force
  1922-1924, 61st Cavalry Division
  1924-1926, Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Course
  1926-1929, HHT, 7th US Cavalry
  1929-1932, 6th US Cavalry
  1932-1932, Infantry Officer Advanced Course
  1932-1934, Army War College (Staff)
  1935-1939, HHC, Army Garrison, Fort Riley, KS
  1939-1940, HHT, 7th US Cavalry
  1940-1941, 3rd Cavalry Division
  1941-1941, 2nd Cavalry Division
  1941-1942, 36th Infantry Division
  1942-1943, 1st Infantry Division
  1943-1945, 104th Infantry Division (Timber Wolves)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1917-1918 Mexican Service Campaign (1911-1919)
  1918-1918 Meuse-Argonne Campaign/Meuse-Argonne Offensive, Phase 1
  1942-1942 WWII - Africa Theater of Operations/Algeria-French Morocco Campaign (1942)/Operation Torch
  1942-1943 WWII - Africa Theater of Operations/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)
  1943-1943 WWII - Africa Theater of Operations/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)/Battle of Kasserine Pass
  1943-1943 WWII - Africa Theater of Operations/Tunisia Campaign (1942-43)/Battle of El Guettar
  1943-1943 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Sicily Campaign (1943)/Operation Husky
  1943-1943 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Sicily Campaign (1943)
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Northern France Campaign (1944)
  1944-1944 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Northern France Campaign (1944)
  1944-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Rhineland Campaign (1944-45)
  1944-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Ardennes Alsace Campaign (1944-45)/Battle of the Bulge
  1945-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Central Europe Campaign (1945)/Battle of the Ruhr Pocket
  1945-1945 WWII - European Theater of Operations/Central Europe Campaign (1945)/Victory in Europe Day (VE Day - 8May45)
 Colleges Attended 
United States Military AcademyCatholic University of America
  1907-1909, United States Military Academy
  1909-1912, Catholic University of America
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