Doris Allen, Analyst Who Noticed the Tet Offensive Coming, Is Useless at 97


Doris Allen, an Army intelligence analyst throughout the Vietnam War whose warning about the impending attacks in early 1968 by North Vietnamese and Viet Cong forces that grew to become regarded as the Tet offensive was overlooked by bigger-ups, died on June 11 in Oakland, Calif. She was 97.

Her loss of life, in a healthcare facility, was confirmed by Amy Stork, chief of community affairs for the Military Intelligence Middle of Excellence.

Specialist Allen, who enlisted in the U.S. Army’s Women’s Military Corps in 1950, volunteered to serve in Vietnam in 1967, hoping to use her intelligence training to preserve life. She had been the 1st female to go to the Army’s prisoner of war interrogation system and labored for two a long time as the strategic intelligence analyst for Latin American affairs at Fort Bragg, N.C., now Fort Liberty.

Working from the Army Operations Middle in Lengthy Binh, South Vietnam, Expert Allen designed intelligence in late 1967 that detected a buildup of at least 50,000 enemy troops, potentially reinforced by Chinese soldiers, who have been making ready to assault South Vietnamese targets. And she pinpointed when the operation would begin: Jan. 31, 1968.

In an interview for the book “A Piece of My Coronary heart: The Tales of 26 American Girls Who Served in Vietnam” (1986), by Keith Walker, Expert Allen recalled writing a report warning that “we’d greater get our stuff together simply because this is what is struggling with us, this is heading to occur and it is likely to transpire on this kind of and these a working day, around these types of and this kind of a time.”

She claimed she informed an intelligence officer: “We need to have to disseminate this. It is acquired to be told.”

But it was not. She pushed for anyone up the chain of command to consider her report critically, but no a single did. On Jan. 30, 1968 — in line with what she predicted — the enemy stunned American and South Vietnamese armed service leaders with the sizing and scope of their assaults.

U.S. and South Vietnamese forces sustained weighty losses early on before later on repelling the assaults. It was a turning point in the war, even more undermining American community assistance for it.

The Army’s refusal to get Expert Allen’s investigation critically instructed to her that she was considered with prejudice, as a Black female who was not an officer. She was one particular of about 700 women in the corps, recognized as WACs, serving in intelligence positions all through the Vietnam era, and only 10 % ended up Black.

In 1991, she advised Newsday, “My reliability was like absolutely nothing: woman — Black woman, at that.”

In 2012, she advised an Army publication: “I just recently arrived up with the motive they didn’t believe that me — they weren’t prepared for me. They didn’t know how to appear over and above the WAC, Black girl in armed forces intelligence. I simply cannot blame them. I do not experience bitter.”

Lori S. Stewart, a civilian army intelligence historian for the Military Intelligence Center of Excellence, reported in an electronic mail that Specialist Allen’s assessment was not the only a single that went unheeded.

“Both countrywide and theater-level corporations believed an enemy offensive was possible sometime all over the Tet getaway,” she wrote, but “too quite a few conflicting studies and preconceptions led leaders to misinterpret the enemy’s intentions.”

Relating to Expert Allen, Mrs. Stewart added, “Like numerous other intelligence staff in country, she was a diligent and observant intelligence analyst performing what she was supposed to do: appraise the enemy’s intentions and capabilities.”

Expert Allen was inducted into the Military Intelligence Corps Hall of Fame in 2009.

Doris Ilda Allen was born on May possibly 9, 1927, in El Paso to Richard and Stella (Davis) Allen. Her mom was a cook, and her father was a barber.

Ms. Allen graduated from Tuskegee Institute (now University) in 1949 with a bachelor’s degree in bodily instruction. She taught at a large college in Greenwood, Miss out on., and enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps the up coming 12 months.

Following basic teaching, she auditioned for the WAC Band, enjoying trumpet. But she and two other Black woman have been advised afterward by a chief warrant officer that “they could not have any Negroes in the band,” she recalled in “A Piece of My Heart.”

She served in a selection of roles around the following dozen or so a long time: as an enjoyment specialist, arranging troopers demonstrates the editor of the army newspaper for the Military occupation forces in Japan during the Korean War a broadcast professional at Camp Stoneman, Calif., where by her commanding officer was her sister, Jewel a public info officer in Japan and an details expert at Fort Monmouth, N.J.

In the early 1960s, Specialist Allen figured out French at the Protection Language Institute and concluded her teaching in the prisoner of war interrogation training course at Fort Holabird, Md. She concluded interrogation and intelligence analyst courses at Fort Bragg.

Soon after asking to go to South Vietnam, she arrived in Oct 1967 for the very first of her a few tours of duty there.

“I experienced so many abilities, so significantly schooling and schooling getting squandered in a variety of posts all around the country that I determined I wished to make a change in a significant-motion post like Vietnam,” she instructed Lavender Notes, a publication for older LGBTQ+ grown ups, in 2020.

She remaining no fast survivors.

Specialist Allen’s Tet assessment was not the only warning of hers to go unheeded. She encouraged a colonel not to mail a convoy to Tune Be, in southern South Vietnam, because of a attainable ambush, which transpired. 5 flatbed vehicles ended up blown up a few men were being killed and 19 wounded.

But she was listened to when she warned in early 1969 that the North Vietnamese had placed scores of 122-millimeter rockets close to the perimeter of the Long Binh operations heart, northeast of Saigon, and that they ended up to be utilized in a major attack. She wrote a memo that led to an airstrike that ruined the rockets.

Afterwards that year, Specialist Allen discovered that the North Vietnamese have been scheduling to use 83-millimeter chemical mortars. She wrote a report that saved as quite a few as 100 Marines, who experienced been instructed in her memo to keep away from any get hold of with the mortars when they fell in their place they later exploded. A grateful colonel sent a memo suggesting that whoever experienced prepared the report deserved the Legion of Advantage.

Specialist Allen did not acquire that decoration but did gain a Bronze Star with two oak clusters, among the numerous awards. She remaining South Vietnam in 1970 right after looking at a stolen enemy doc with her name on a record of targets to kill.

Soon after serving 10 more yrs in the Military she retired as a main warrant officer.

By then she experienced acquired her master’s degree in counseling from Ball Point out College in Indiana in 1977. Immediately after her armed service company, she worked with a personal investigator, Bruce Haskett, whom she had met when they ended up in counterintelligence. She acquired a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley, Calif., in 1986, and mentored youthful psychologists.

“She was extremely savvy about men and women and experienced an innate skill to sizing men and women up speedily,” Mr. Haskett reported in an interview. “She was the sort of man or woman who could stroll into a pit of vipers and have all people consuming out of her fingers in 15 minutes.”

Christina Brown Fisher contributed reporting.



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