Allen Avery was born on February 22, 1943, in Sumner, Iowa. He enlisted in the U.S. Air Force on July 3, 1961, and was trained as an Admin Specialist, serving at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, from September 1961 to January 1965. Sgt Avery then cross-trained as a Pararescue Specialist, and after completing training, he was assigned to the 79th Aerospace Rescue & Recovery Squadron (ARRS) at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, from January 1966 to July 1967. He moved with the squadron to Andersen AFB, Guam, in July 1967, and joined the 37th ARRS at Danang AB in the Republic of Vietnam in September 1968. Sgt Avery served at Eglin AFB, Florida, from August 1969 to September 1970, and then returned to the 37th ARRS at Danang. On April 6, 1972, he was killed in action during a rescue mission. His remains were returned to the U.S. on June 7, 1994, and he was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Avery Manor on Keesler AFB, Mississippi, was named in his honor.
His 1st Silver Star Citation reads:
Staff Sergeant Allen J. Avery distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force as Rescue Specialist on an HH-3E helicopter in Southeast Asia on 5 October 1968. On that date, Sergeant Avery volunteered to attempt the extremely hazardous extraction of a Special Forces team after their insertion helicopter had been shot down and the team surrounded by hostile forces. Enroute to the distress site he learned that a rescue helicopter had been shot down while attempting the extraction, fatally injuring two crew members. Despite low cloud cover, which prevented the use of fighter escort, Sergeant Avery, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, penetrated the hostile area and directed his helicopter to a hover adjacent the burning crash site. During the prolonged hover, Sergeant Avery provided accurate suppressive machine gun fire and assisted in the rescue of the two crash survivors and the six surviving team members. By his gallantry and devotion to duty, Sergeant Avery has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.
His 2nd Silver Star Citation reads:
Technical Sergeant Allen J. Avery distinguished himself by gallantry in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force near Quang Tri City, Republic of Vietnam, on 6 April 1972. On that date, Sergeant Avery was flying as a Pararescue Specialist of an HH-53C Rescue Helicopter that was attempting to rescue the survivors of a downed United States aircraft from certain death or capture by hostile armed forces. Flying into a heavily defended area, the aircraft encountered severe ground hostile fire rendering the aircraft uncontrollable at an extremely low altitude. By his gallantry and devotion to duty in the dedication of his service to his country, Sergeant Avery has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.