Kenneth Gary Allen has been identified as the American Air Force pilot who was killed during a routine training exercise in Great Britain on June 15. He was a newlywed and, according to a search of online records, turned 27 years old the day before the crash. His family and friends called him by a nickname, Kage, according to his Facebook page.
Allen was stationed at the Royal Air Force Lakenheath base located near Suffolk, England, and was part of the 48th Fighter Wing. He was flying an F-15C Eagle fighter jet when he crashed into the North Sea during the morning drill. The Air Force has not released details about what caused the crash or whether Allen issued a distress call. It was also not clear whether he ejected from the aircraft.
Here’s what you need to know:
Allen Arrived at RAF Lakenheath in February & Served as an Assistant Chief of Weapons & Tactics
Allen began his service at RAF Lakenheath in February, according to a news release from the base. His role was as assistant chief of weapons and tactics for the 493rd Fighter Squadron. The commander of the 48th Fighter Wing, Colonel Will Marshall, said in a prepared statement:
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lt. Allen, and mourn with his family and his fellow Reapers in the 493rd Fighter Squadron. The tremendous outpouring of love and support from our communities has been a ray of light in this time of darkness.
According to public records with the Federal Aviation Administration, Allen also earned his commercial pilot license in April 2019. He was certified to fly single and multi-engine planes.
Allen was serving at a historically important base for the United States. RAF Lakenheath is the largest U.S. Air Force-operated base in England, according to its website, and there are more than 4,500 active military members stationed there.
The 48th Fighter Wing is the only F-15 force the U.S. military has in Europe and is also known by its nickname, the Statue of Liberty Wing. The Liberty Wing supplied the first F-11 fighter unit to the Gulf during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and was the force that led the El Dorado Canyon raids into Libya in 1986. More recently, the 48th Fighter Wing has played a significant role in the fight against terrorism and has provided combat support in Iraq.
Allen’s Widow Described Him as ‘Perfect’ & ‘Christ-Like In How He Cared For Others’
Allen married the love of his life right before he deployed to RAF Lakenheath. His widow, Hannah, wrote on Facebook that they had a civil ceremony on February 20, 2020. She explained they had originally planned to have a religious ceremony on May 23 but the date was pushed back due to the coronavirus. Allen’s widow wrote in April that she and Allen were excited to celebrate their union with friends and family in the future and that they were “grateful to have each other, even if half a world apart.”
Upon receiving the news that Allen had passed away, his widow described him as the “perfect” man, her best friend, and that he was “Christ-like in how he cared for others.” She also wrote that she felt grateful to have known him for the time that she did. “I feel beyond blessed to have loved him in this life and can’t wait to love him for eternity.”
In the statement about Allen’s death, the Air Force also said Allen was survived by his parents. According to the organization Follow the Flag, Allen grew up in northern Utah. The group wrote on Facebook that Allen would receive “a true hero’s welcome upon his return.”
Allen Was a Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Allen and his wife, Hannah, appear to have been members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In her Facebook post announcing they had tied the knot in a civil ceremony, Hannah explained that her “Stake President” performed the civil ceremony. The Mormon church describes this person as a volunteer who helps to oversee “Church programs in a defined geographic area composed of individual congregations.”
Hannah Allen also wrote about looking forward to getting “sealed in the temple.” This is described on the church’s website:
In our Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness, a husband and wife can be together forever. The authority to unite families forever is called the sealing power. It is the same power that Jesus bestowed upon His Apostles during His ministry on earth (see Matthew 16:19). An eternal marriage is therefore called a sealing, and children born or adopted into such eternal marriages can also be sealed to their families forever.
Unlike marriages that last only “til death do you part,” temple sealings ensure that death cannot separate loved ones. For marriage relationships to continue after death, those marriages must be sealed in the right place and with the right authority.
On his public Facebook page, Allen shared a photo from Valparaiso, Chile, in December 2014. He wrote that he was in South America for his mission and that while there he helped to “clear land from some big fires that took place.” Young men typically participate in volunteer missions for two years in the Mormon church. Allen appears to have been become fluent in Spanish while she was in Chile. He frequently responded to friends in Spanish on his Facebook page.