“SPACE AGE” ALLAN
We always like to learn something about the people in the park, so we asked Allan about his background. Turns out he’s a “Space Age Baby,” born on the day the Soviets sent the first Sputnik into space, October 4, 1957. While Sputnik was in space, back on the ground Allan was being born in Lansing, Michigan. He said of his childhood, “I was born there and it’s where I lived all my life, till the Navy.”
He served 14 years in the Navy as a communications electrician, working on systems inside ships. He spent time on the USS Guadalcanal, which carried helicopters and Marines, and the USS Briscoe, a destroyer and submarine hunter. His service ended not long after he represented the USA in the NATO Games, a track and field competition. Allan competed in the shot put and during the event blew out a knee. “It was my very first throw and I didn’t get the other two,” he recalled, “but I still took third place. I gave my medal to my grandson.” The Navy decided that while Allan was likely to recover (and he eventually did), their protocols declared they couldn’t be sure of that, so decided to give him a medical discharge.