The University of Oklahoma College of Professional and Continuing Studies has honored some wonderful service members through its Patriot of the Game sponsorship. On Saturday, Oct. 30, the college was humbled to honor a special patriot, 103-year-old United States Navy veteran Chief Petty Officer Allen Vann.
Vann, who was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd, was joined on the field with OU Navy ROTC Commander Capt. Paul Young, PACS Assistant Dean for Curricular and Faculty Resources J Hall, Women’s Basketball Head Coach Jennie Barancyk, and his family members.
Vann, the son of a cotton farmer, was born in Huntsville, Alabama. He moved to Oklahoma after his father’s death, residing in Ada until he joined the Army National Guard in 1940.
After an intensive 12-week training in underwater warfare and torpedo use, he was assigned to the USS Seahorse where he oversaw 93 crew members during World War II.
Vann began his military career in 1940 with the Army National Guard before enlisting in the United States Navy in 1942. He served for a short time on the USS Bushnell before applying for submarine duty. After an intensive 12-week training in underwater warfare and torpedo use, he was assigned to the USS Seahorse where he oversaw 93 crew members during World War II. His duties included overseeing the four torpedo rooms, servicing the torpedoes and executing orders to fire them. He was considered an expert in tools, both surface weapons and munitions utilized underwater. He served on the Seahorse until his discharge in 1945.
Vann received many commendations, including a Presidential Unit Citation for Meritorious Service, the Asiatic-Pacific Commendation Medal with two stars, an American Area Citation Ribbon and the American Defense Commendation with one star.
Following his discharge, he enrolled in Abilene Christian University and received a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies. He later received a master’s degree in elementary education from OU. He served a minister before enjoying a long career as a principal and administrator with Oklahoma City Public Schools.
Vann, a resident of the Norman Veterans Center, has two sons, four grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren. He is the first of three generations of OU graduates. His son, Daniel, is a 1971 alumnus and his granddaughter, Emily Vann Baker, is a 1977 alumnus.
Presented by the OU College of Professional and Continuing Studies, Patriot of the Game honors military service members at home football games, as well as various men’s and women’s basketball games, baseball games and softball games.
Patriot of the Game is just one of many ways the college serves military families. PACS is a leader in military education with more than 55 years of experience supporting the educational needs of service members worldwide. PACS brings the excellence of OU degrees and programs to students, wherever they may be. Visit our website for more information on our degrees and our offerings for service members.
Do you know someone who deserves to be Patriot of the Game? To nominate a service member, visit patriot.pacs.ou.edu and tell us why.