Marine from Maple Lake dies in Iraqby Martin Moylan, Minnesota Public Radio
A U.S. Marine from Maple Lake, Minnesota was killed Wednesday during combat in Iraq. The Defense Department says Sgt. Chad Allen, 25, was killed in Al Anbar province. Allen was assigned to a Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.
St. Paul, Minn. — Sgt. Chad M. Allen was on his second deployment in Iraq and was scheduled to leave the Marines on May 1, his father said.
Allen joined the Marine Corps in 2003 and was trained as a light armored vehicle crewman before joining the LAR Battalion. His father, Steve Allen, of Danbury, Wis., described his son as a "very well-loved young man."
Allen joined the Marines the day after the Sept. 11 attacks, his mother, Deborah Allen, also of Danbury, said Thursday.
"He was going to save his family from harm."
Allen was assigned to the 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, II Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
His parents said he volunteered for a second tour of duty in Iraq to take the place of an injured fellow Marine. Steve Allen said his son had told him Sunday that he had been promoted to sergeant.
Word of Allen's death spread quickly through Maple Lake, a small city of some 1,700 residents about 45 miles northwest of Minneapolis.
Randall Frost knew Allen very well. Frost's daughter Mandy was Chad Allen's girlfriend since high school.
"He was one of the greatest guys you could ever know," said Frost. Frost says Allen joined the Marines hoping to get training that would position him for a good job in civilian life.
"He wanted to get into the police force," recalls Frost. "But the schooling was too long and he couldn't afford it. He didn't really have any money to speak of because he wasn't working. So, he decided to go into the military, and he found out they'd give him a good wage and train him well. So, he thought that was the route to go. He didn't have any idea, I guess, he was going to Iraq. But that is the way it ended up. That's where they sent him. So, he had to go."
Frost's wife Diana says Allen felt he could do some good in Iraq.
"He was very proud to serve his country," she said. "He really thought he could make a difference in some small way, just in going over and doing his part."
Allen was an upbeat and energetic student. That's how Gary Porter recalls Allen. Porter taught Allen history and psychology at Maple Lake High School.
"It's a sad situation, and I'm sorry to hear about his demise," Porter said.
Allen played on the Maple Lake football team. He was an offensive guard and defensive linebacker. He also ran track.
Allen's football coach, Dave Schroeder, says Allen was very determined and diligent.
"I can see why he went into the service," said Schroeder. "He was gung-ho about things and disciplined. And I think, you know, here's a kid who gave his life for something he believed in. And it's too bad."
Schroeder says many of Allen's friends expected him to be safely home months ago.
"A lot of his friends are really upset about this," said Schroeder. "A lot of them said this should have been avoided. They should have all been home already."
Allen graduated from Maple Lake High School in 2000, not quite seven years ago. But Principal Mary James still recalls him. James remembers Allen as a happy person who knew how to get other people out of their blue moods. She said Allen's death is hitting the small community hard.
"When you only have 70, 80 students in a grade, somebody like that makes a real impact. Everyone knows him well," James said. "This will hit everyone hard, not only the students who graduated with him seven years ago but also brothers and sisters of everybody and community members because we all know him."
Allen is the second Minnesotan killed in Iraq this week. Army Sgt. William Beardsley, 25, of Coon Rapids died Monday.
The deaths bring to 35 the number of active duty members of the military with strong ties to Minnesota killed in Iraq. Ten National Guard soldiers from Minnesota have been killed there.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
- Morning Edition, 03/02/2007, 7:50 a.m.