Meet Allen Swanda

ALLEN SWANDA COLONEL (R), US ARMY

Allen dedicated the majority of his extensive 30-year military career in
challenging international assignments developing effective culturally diverse
organizations in politically sensitive environments.

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Allen attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University, graduating with a B.S. in Computer Programming and Business Administration in 1982. He was designated as the ROTC distinguished military graduate and commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the US Regular Army. Following assignments with mechanized and light infantry units in Germany and Hawaii, Allen was later assigned an additional career designation as a Foreign Area Officer and sent to language training at Monterey, California, where he studied Thai.

In addition to overseas tours in Hawaii and Germany, Allen served two tours in Korea, one tour with NATO in Belgium, and over 11 years on extended tours in Thailand. He attended both the Royal Thai Army and the US Army Command and General Staff Colleges. Allen received his Masters in Strategic Studies from the US Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 2005.

Allen was an instructor at the prestigious US Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and later served as the executive officer during the activation of the 23rd Chemical Battalion in the Republic of Korea from 1996 to 1998. Following successful and early activation of this unique bi-national organization and promotion to Lieutenant Colonel, the army centrally selected him to return to Korea to command the same battalion from 2000 to 2002.

Following promotion to Colonel, Allen returned to Thailand as the Army Attaché in the US Embassy Bangkok. He was laterally transferred 2 1/2 years later to serve as the Chief, Joint United States Military Advisory Group – Thailand (JUSMAGTHAI). In 2010, Allen was selected by the Secretary of Defense as the first Senior Defense Official assigned in Thailand, where he continued to serve simultaneously as the Defense Attaché and Chief, JUSMAGTHAI. During his extended tour in Thailand, Allen was recognized for his leadership, judgment, and cultural expertise during several crisis periods.  Some of the challenges he faced included the Thai military coup in 2006, cyclone Nargis relief efforts in Burma in 2008, Thai civil unrest and the bloody national crisis in 2009 – 2010, and the epic Thailand flood disaster in 2011.

Allen retired from the Army in the summer of 2012. He moved with his wife Lynn to Hamburg, Germany, where she was the Director of English as an Additional Language at the International School of Hamburg from 2012-2015.  From 2013 to 2014, Allen worked as an independent consultant and coach to enhance human performance, leadership, and operations excellence in the Gulf of Thailand’s oil and gas industry.  Following a downturn of gas and oil prices in 2015, Allen became Director and Consulting Partner in Asia Connections Inc. (ACI), providing consulting throughout SE Asia, primarily with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation from 2016- 2019.  At the end of 2019, Allen retired from private business.  He and Lynn returned to Oklahoma in 2016 and currently reside in Westbury South, Yukon, Oklahoma.

Allen and Lynn have three sons and three grandchildren.  Their oldest child proudly serves in the US Navy nuclear submarine fleet and is currently working towards his master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston.  Having completed a master’s degree at the University of Hamburg, Germany, their second son works in Baltimore, Maryland, for an international corporation.  Allen and Lynn’s youngest is currently working for an IT monitoring company in Austin, Texas.