Army veteran Mel Allen walked more than a line in ‘Operation Totem Pole’
Johnny Cash wrote a hit song about walking a metaphorical line. Army veteran Mel Allen could write a catalogue of music based on his “walk.”
Allen and his unit, the 196th Regimental Combat Team, walked 872 miles in 1951 as a part of “Operation Totem Pole.” The walk is considered one of the longest recorded modern military marches in history and consisted of troops, trucks and artillery units.
“I originally grew up in Lake City, Iowa, and I was just a farm boy,” Allen said. “My whole world was within 10 miles of home.”
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