ALLEN MURRAY WRIGHT (1920? - 1943)
(CNAC 1942 - December 18, 1943)
(Captain - March 1943)
(Hump Flights - XXX)
In the 1943-45 log book of Don McBride, Allen listed his address as:
ALLEN WRIGHT AVG
From Gene Banning's notes of 8/31/00:
"... AVG; pro to capt 3/43; killed in crash on letdown into Suifu, 12/18/43, plane #83."
Robert M. Smith, With Chennault In China, gives the accident date as 10 December 1943.
NOTE: date was 12/18/43.
by Earl Willoughby
(Photos Coutesey of Earl Willoughby)
In 1929, the year of the "Great Crash", a young boy named Allen Murray Wright received a perfect attendance certificate from his school. On top of the certificate was the image of an eagle hovering over a cloudbank and clutching the American flag. The document read in part, "This world is crying for good men...men who can be trusted, men on whom a city, a state, a nation, a world can rely." Young Allen was destined to be one of those men.
He moved to Dyersburg when he was still a young man and lived on the north end of Cherry Street. My grandparents happened to work with Allen's mother at that time. His younger brother "Booner" use to deliver the "State Gazette" and as it happened, my grandparents were also on "Booner's" route, so occasionally the boys would stop in and eat dinner. During the summer the boys spent a week-end with the family down on the Obion. All of the sudden one day Allen was missing and Grandmother was terrified that he had fallen into the river, but sometime after dark Allen showed up at the house, seems that he had caught a ride with some fellow and toured the countryside. I suppose he caught the spirit of adventure at an early age. Though I had grown up hearing of Allen and "Booner", I did not hear the full story of Allen's flying career until years later.
Unknown and Al Wright in his AVG uniform
China - 1942
Captain All M. Wright and his wife Doris Ozment Wright
At about 8:40 a.m., Allen, in plane number 83, crashed in Funganshih Mountain and was killed, as was Capt. Loh who had gone in after him trying to find out what had happened. The remaining three planes changed course and headed for Chengtu.
Today Allen is still remembered by many in the Dyersburg area and as it turns out also by the people of China. Only last year his daughter Gail went to China and visited some of the places her father had been during the war. The Chinese Embassy sent a letter before the trip stating in part, " We've learned of the heroic deeds of Mr. Allen M. Wright, a volunteer pilot of the Flying Tigers to fight against the Japanese aggressors along with the Chinese people. It is quite meaningful and full of great significance, especially to the education of our younger generation to conduct various activities to commemorate Mr. Allen Wright a hero of Dyersburg. I should say that the Chinese government and people have always cherished the memory of those who once made contributions to their just war against the Japanese aggressors."
Today you will find no towering monuments dedicated to Allen or any of the World War II veterans of Dyer County, instead Allen Like so many other veterans of that war lies buried at Fairview Cemetery, with only a small bronze plaque marking his grave. There are no trees shading the grave, but perhaps it is fitting that he lies under the unobstructed that sky he loved so well. Next time you find yourself driving down Shelby Drive, you might look over your shoulder and remember a local boy that died so far from home. The memory of what he and others of his generation accomplished is likely the only real monument they will ever have.
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