Max Harold Allen was born in Brattleboro, Vermont, on 9 June 1925, son of Harold G. and Helen (Kenrick) Allen. He entered the Engineering School at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, in February 1943 and on 1 July, that year reported for active duty as an Apprentice Seaman in the US Naval Reserve. He continued his instruction at Rensselaer and while there was a member of the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps Unit. Graduated in October 1945, he received the degree of Bachelor of Civil Engineering and was commissioned Ensign, Civil Engineer Corps, US Naval Reserve. He subsequently received the degrees of Master of Civil Engineering from Catholic University in 1953 and the Master of Arts from George Washington University in 1966, both in Washington, DC. After receiving his commission in 1945, he advanced progressively in rank to that of Captain, to date from 1 May 1967, having transferred from the Naval Reserve to the US Navy on 17 June 1947.
His first assignment after receiving his commission was instruction at the Civil Engineer Corps Officers School, Davisville, Rhode Island. From January 1946 to April 1948 he was Assistant to the Operations and Planning Officer in the Office of the District Public Works Officer, Fifth Naval District, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia. He next served as Assistant Public Works Officer at the Naval Air Station, Barbers Point, Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, and in September 1950 transferred, in a similar capacity, to the Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, DC.
During the period April 1953 to October 1954 he was Maintenance and Operations Officer in the Office of the District Public Works Officer, Seventeenth Naval District, with headquarters in Kodiak, Alaska. There he also served as Resident Officer in Charge of Construction at the Naval Station, Kodiak. He next, joined the Staff of Commander Service Force, US Atlantic Fleet as Staff Civil Engineer, with additional duty as Secretary of the Shore Station Development Board. In December 1956 he reported as Shops Engineer in the Public Works Department at the Naval Station, Newport, Rhode Island, and upon the establishment of the Public Works Center there on 1 April 1958 became Operations Officer.
He attended a course in Management at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, from January to June 1959, after which he served as Assistant Officer in Charge of Construction for Administration and Comptroller, later Assistant Officer in Charge of Construction for Design and Construction in the Office of the Officer in Charge of Construction, Spain, with headquarters in Madrid. In July 1962 he reported for duty in connection with military construction in the Office of the Navy Comptroller, Navy Department, Washington, DC.
In that capacity, his duties included Congressional Liaison. In February 1966 he became Deputy Officer in Charge of Construction, Bureau of Yards and Docks Contracts (later Naval Facilities Engineering Command Contracts), Mid-Pacific, with additional service as Deputy District Civil Engineer of the Fourteenth Naval District, headquartered at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and in February 1967 became Officer in Charge of Construction. He was Deputy Officer in Charge of Construction (Operations) in the Office of the Officer in Charge of Construction, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Contracts, Republic of Vietnam, with headquarters in Saigon, from March 1968 to March 1969 and is entitled to the Ribbon for and a facsimile of the Meritorious Unit Commendation awarded that Activity. He was then assigned as Commanding Officer of the Naval Public Works Center, Great Lakes, Illinois.
In addition to the Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, Captain Allen had the American Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; National Defense Service Medal with bronze star; and the Vietnam Service Medal with three bronze stars. He also had the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
Captain Allen is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Vermont. He is a member of the Society of American Military Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers.