Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Retiring Airman Had To Fight To Fly a Fighter Plane in '40s.

Byline: Steve Shoup Journal Staff Writer

John Allen said his experiences as a fighter pilot reminded him of the time another pilot nursed a piston-driven fighter plane over the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest.

"You felt exhilarated. You really could get up in the clouds, detach yourself from the Earth. It was just awesome," Allen said Thursday.

Allen also had overcome a mountain as a pilot a mountain of doubt, opposition and racism that stood between black men and success in a still-segregated military in World War II.

Allen, of Rio Rancho, is one of nearly 1,000 trail-breaking black men who were trained by a reluctant Army to be fighter pilots in 1940s. …

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