William Young Allen, Jr., was born in San Antonio, Texas, on 29 February 1908, son of William Y. and Kattie Musa (Cato) Allen. Upon graduation from Huntsville (Texas) High School in 1925, he won a scholarship on scholastic merit, and attended Sam Houston College Huntsville, Texas, for one year. He received his appointment to the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland, from his native state in 1926. As A Midshipman he was a member of the basketball and lacrosse teams for four years, was captain of the latter during his senior year, made All-American in lacrosse in 1929, and was Company Commander of the Sixth Company. Graduated and commissioned Ensign on 5 June 1930, he advanced progressively in rank to that of Captain to date from 1 July 1949. On 1 February 1957 he was transferred to the Retired List of the US Navy and was advanced to the rank of Rear Admiral on the basis of a combat award.
Following graduation from the Naval Academy in 1930, he remained there for two months as Assistant Lacrosse Coach, prior to joining USS Houston in August 1930. While attached to that cruiser she sailed to Europe; Houston, Texas; New York; and then to the Asiatic Area, to relieve USS Pittsburgh as flagship of the Asiatic Fleet. The Houston> was present in Shanghai, China, when the Japanese first attacked that city, during the Sino-Japanese trouble in 1932 and in the summer of 1934, she made a Presidential cruise from Annapolis, Maryland, to Portland, Oregon, via the Panama Canal and Hawaii.
In August 1934 he was assigned duty in connection with the fitting out of USS Macdonough at the Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts. Following her commissioning on 15 March 1935, he reported on board as First Lieutenant and made a cruise to Europe, where he attended the Silver Jubilee of King George V. From June 1937 until April 1938, he attended the course in General Line at the Postgraduate School, Annapolis, Maryland, and upon completion of the course had further instruction at the Field Officer's School Quantico, Virginia.
In June 1939 he reported on board USS Maryland and was serving in that battleship at Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, when the Japanese attacked the Naval Base there on 7 December 1941. Detached from the Maryland in August 1942, he next attended the Fleet Sonar School, Key West, Florida, and in October of that year, assumed command of USS Noa, operating as a unit of Destroyers, US Atlantic Fleet.
Reporting in April 1943 to the Consolidated Steel Corporation Ltd., Orange, Texas, he had fitting out duty in USS Wickes and assumed command of that destroyer upon her commissioning, 15 June 1943. "For meritorious achievement as Commanding Officer of the USS WICKES in action against enemy Japanese forces in the Kurile Islands, February 4, March 3 to 5, and June 13 and 26, 1944..." he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V." The citation continues in part:
"...Commander Allen participated in a vigorous shelling of enemy installations at Paramushiro and in the first offensive sweep by our forces into the Okhotsk Sea and, courageously guiding his ship through heavy fog during subsequent operations, again conducted powerful, highly effective bombardments against the important Kurile Islands. By his sound judgment and outstanding tactical control throughout this hazardous period Commander Allen contributed materially to the success of these vital missions in a strategic area."
Returning to the United States, he reported in July 1944 as Assistant Operations Officer on the staff of the Commander in Chief United States Fleet, with headquarters in the Navy Department, Washington, DC. He continued staff duty until May 1946, when he became Commanding Officer of the US Naval Ammunition Depot, Guam, Marianas Islands. Between January and April 1948, he attended the Fleet Sonar and Combat Information Center School, San Diego California, and upon completion of his instruction assumed command of Destroyer Division ONE HUNDRED THIRTY TWO, a unit of Destroyers US Pacific Fleet.
He was Ordnance Member on the Naval Board of Inspection and Survey, Pacific Coast Section with headquarters in San Francisco, California, where he continued to serve until May 1952. He next commanded USS Renville, operating in the Korean Area during the hostilities there, and in October 1953, became Professor of Naval Science and Tactics at Rico Institute, Houston, Texas. He commanded USS H W Butner from July 1956 until relieved of all active duty pending his retirement, effective 1 February 1957.
In addition to the Bronze Star Medal with Combat "V," Rear Admiral Allen had the Yangtze Service Medal; the American Defense Service Medal, Fleet Clasp ; the American Campaign Medal; the Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with two bronze stars; the World War II Victory Medal; the Navy Occupation Service Medal, Asia Clasp; the China Service Medal; the National Defense Service Medal; the Korean Service Medal; and the United Nations Service Medal.