George Allen / EducateMHC Blog Mobile Home & Land Lease Community Advocate & Expert

May 24, 2024

A Memorial Day Story & Tribute

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:20 am

Blog Posting # 794, Copyright 24 May 2024. EducateMHC

Know this! HUD-Code manufactured housing (‘MH”) is federally-regulated, performance-based, affordable-attainable factory-built housing (a.k.a. offsite construction). And land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) comprise the commercial real estate (‘CRE’) component of MH! EducateMHC is the online advocate, official historian, trade term & trend tracker, as well as information resource for both business models. Access EducateMHC via (317) 881-3815; email:, 7 via to purchase Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, and SWAN SONG is a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production totals since 1955. And my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven! Describes personal combat adventures in Vietnam as a USMC lieutenant, a 45 year entrepreneur business career in MH & community ownership, as well as prolific non-fiction author and popular freelance consultant.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, is the only emeritus member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), a founding board member of MHI’s National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, an RV/MH Hall of Fame enshrinee, MHInsider magazine columnist & editor at large. He’s a Vietnam combat veteran & retired lieutenant colonel of U.S. Marines, and author/editor of 30 books & chapbooks on MH, communities, business management & prayer.

The Housing Meetings Trifecta-like Conflict

National trade associations often plan their membership gatherings, annual and otherwise, during spring and fall meeting shoulder seasons, to benefit from generally lower hotel room rates. What is shoulder season? It’s occurs between peak and off-peak tourist seasons when there’s less overall business to be captured by hotels with meeting facilities.

With that said, know there’s a ‘MH meetings trifecta conflict’ on the horizon. First off, what’s a ‘trifecta’? Well it’s ‘a horseracing term requiring choices of first, second and third place, in exact order to win’. So, the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), the ‘I’m HOME Network at the Land Institute’, and annual ‘Shed Exposition’ (the latest housing fringe) have already scheduled overlapping national meetings on the 25th of September at different locations – hence the trifecta-like metaphor. Here’s how they pencil out – following the ever-popular SECO gathering in Atlanta GA., on16-19 September 2024. OK, here goes:

MHI’s annual meeting will be held in Phoenix, AZ. From 23-25 September

‘I’m Home Network’/ the Land Institute, will also be held in Phoenix, AZ., on 24 & 25 September

The annual SHED EXPO will occur in Grand Rapids, MI., on 25 & 26 September

So, where will you be on 25 September 2024 of the trifecta race to meet? I’ll likely be at the SHED EXPO. Why? Can’t really afford the trip to Phoenix, and frankly, I’m intrigued by the increasingly sophisticated design and utility of the contemporary shed product. Here’s more…

The ‘I’m Home Network’, recently partnered with the Land Institute, is focused on manufactured housing issues. The SHED EXPO is a relatively unknown entity to MH folk. However, I’ve noticed, at a previous national gathering, and in recent editions of their trade publication,  ‘sheds’ are looking like various designs of ADUs (‘accessory dwelling units’) such as Tiny Houses, Park Model RVs, steel shipping container conversions, and more. These variants can also be characterized as being offsite construction (factory-built housing). By the way be watching for a national gathering of ADU-interested folk in CA., in the foreseeable future

Public Listening Session on Equitable Housing Finance Plans…

June 5th is coming up quickly! If you want to participate in an FHFA hosted “public listening session to hear interim feedback on Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac’s (the Enterprises) implementation of their current Equitable Housing Finance Plans (‘EHFP’)”, and preparation of their 2025-2027 plans, contact the Federal Housing Finance Agency to register for this timely event. I plan to participate.

RVs Continue to Set Data Pace for MH Industry

You know how I’ve been sharing RV-related statistical data these past few weeks, suggesting MH would do well to emulate our sister industry where Economic Impact data, etc., is concerned? Well, here’re recent ‘data finds’ that we, in the MH and land lease community business, would do well to know about ourselves:

Wholesale RV shipments finished at 313,174 units for the year 2023, with a retail value of $20.27 billion. Well, MH shipments finished at 89,169 units for the year 2023. So, what’s the retail value (a.k.a. Economic Impact) of these new HUD-Code manufactured homes? Don’t you think it high time that MHARR &/or MHI figures that out and let us all know? Answer: YES!

Texas remains the top destination for RV shipments, receiving 9.13% of total RV wholesale shipments, followed by California at 7.42%, Florida 1t 7.3%, Ohio at 3.96 percent ,and Michigan at 3.68%. Now, in this instance we can actually compute these percentages for MH, thanks to monthly data published by the Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’), HUD’s scorekeeper for our industry.

And, Indiana overwhelmingly continues to lead the country in RV production, manufacturing nearly 84% of all RVs in the U.S. and Canada.

You know, it’s embarrassing the RV industry has a much better handle on their Economic Impact – and more, than we do over in manufactured housing. Why is that? Not the embarrassment part, but the woeful lack of data that characterizes our business models. I can’t ‘say’ for the manufacturing and retail sales segments of the industry, though I do look to the two national trade groups who claim affinity to MH.

But I do know this: For 40 years I researched and published identity, occupancy, OER information, REIT growth – and more, for land lease community owners/operators. But now that I’m retired (since 2021), no one (that I’m aware of) has stepped forward to continue identifying property portfolio folk (i.e. 500+/- entities) and the above-referenced data that helps them manage their land lease communities.  

MH2X! Project

As you already know, the goal of the MH2X Project is to encourage, even enable the manufactured housing industry to double its’ production of new HUD-Code homes during years 2024 & 2025 – by initiating home sales workshops thru the rest of 2024 and into 2025, hosting the ever-popular SECO Conference in September (16-19 in Atlanta, GA.). Also by encouraging land lease community owners/operators to upgrade their properties and fill vacant rental homesites with new MHs sold and seller-financed on-site.

To this end, I came across a random comment recently, penned by an MH2X Project aficionado, and edited for this edition of our weekly blog posting:

“One of the main reasons community owners don’t buy and sell more new homes, is the difficulty would be homebuyers have obtaining conventional (home only) financing. As you may know, we bypass that obstacle by selling new homes on-site via lease-option contracts.” If you’d like to learn more about how to effect the lease-option, let me know via

Memorial Day

Memorial Day reminds me how, at one time in my life and for a considerable period of time (13 months), I walked near death’s door with other young men who’d volunteered to serve our nation on foreign soil. Fortunately, I made it home alive to live out my life with Carolyn and our children. So many of my friends, however, did not make the trip home, having died on one or another battlefield. That’s why, every Memorial Day, I make it a point to pause and remember them, along with the firefights and other engagements we experienced together. Not an easy task – in either perspective.

Here’s one example. During February 1969, U.S. Marines assaulted enemy (NVA & Red Chinese) positions in the infamous Ashau Valley (i.e. NW corner of Vietnam bordering Laos, called Leatherneck Square). During one battle we captured two Russian field guns (artillery), along with ammunition and supplies. One of the NCOs (non-commissioned officers) that led one of the charges was Sergeant Don Myers. In his autobiography, Your War My War, he describes some of the action that day…

“When the air strike lifted, 1st platoon started up the small mountain. A tremendous firefight erupted, and I could hardly believe the tremendous volume of weapon fire coming off that slope, considering the pounding our flyboys had just tossed in there.”

“I grabbed the radio handset from PFC Fish and monitored the net, hoping to find out what was going on. 2nd Lt. Archie Biggers, platoon commander of the 1st platoon was shouting frantically over the radio to Capt. Kelly, C Company CO, ’There’re big guns up ahead and a big truck is burning. We’re gonna need help up here fast!’ “

“I yelled at my people to drop their packs and go forward on the run. Our rear element pushed the front of the platoon, and they too got caught up in our charge, dropping their packs as they joined the rush up the large hill. The mid-afternoon sun was blistering, and bullets were whizzing and zinging through the underbrush and beating into trees. The noise of gunfire and small explosions was all but deafening, as I looked up the slope of the mountain-like hill. Not 40 meters away stood the largest enemy artillery piece I’d ever seen! The long barrel of that cannon looked like it was pointing straight down the trail at not only me, but the rest of the men that were scrambling up the slope with me as well. I yelled aloud, ‘Sweet Jesus, don’ shoot that mother f_______!’  In seconds, I moved past the unmanned gun, and noticed several bodies of dead NVA lying near the weapon. I was glad someone had gotten them before they had unlimbered that gun for firing. The barrel extended out 30 feet and the tires came up to my waist. A caisson affair was in back of the artillery piece with an open, ready box of big brass shells sitting upright in slots.”

“Lt Biggers was being treated by a corpsman for back and arm wounds. My platoon commander, 2nd Lt. Bob Palisay was also being treated by a corpsman for hand grenade wounds. Lt. Palisay ordered me to continue the assault. I got the 3rd platoon moving again and moved uphill less than 300 feet, when stopped by a renewed volume of small arms fire. I plopped to the ground next to a burning hulk of a tracked artillery prime mover. Napalm had cooked the driver behind the wheel (and was still) engulfed in flames. Another ‘crispy critter’ lay burning a few feet from me. Squad leader of the first squad, Cpl. Jack Reynolds, crawled over to me wanting to know what we should do next. I don’t know what came over me just then. Maybe I was mad or just didn’t care anymore. It was like a bloodlust, wanting to get to the top of this hill. I said a foul word or two, and then stood up and yelled, ‘Let’s go!’ Jack didn’t say a word, but stood up next to me. Both of us advanced with our weapons leveled at the hip, firing away.”

“The entire platoon was on its’ feet, surging forward, screaming at the top of their lungs. A cluster of five enemy soldiers came running downhill toward Jack and me. We cut them down without a pause in our stride.”

“Obscenities rang through the virgin jungle as the enemy tried to make a stand. The entire platoon was maneuvering by fire, shooting their rifles on automatic select, as we hosed the enemy.”

“We passed another artillery piece, a twin to the one below us. Enemy dead were lying all around it.”

“I have no idea what eerie thoughts the enemy must have had as this rebel-rousing, reeling, curing, insane group of marines came at them in John Wayne style charge. I have a feeling, if I saw this berserk group trotting towards me, waving and shooting rifles, many with bayonets affixed, screaming bloody murder and loudly singing the Marine Corps hymn, I may have been inclined to break and run. And that’s just what the enemy did. I glimpsed shadowy figures bobbing and weaving at a distance, moving away from our advancing force.”

This is how the late Sgt. Myers described the battle we shared 55 years ago. Don served several tours in Vietnam, and for many years was recognized as the most decorated Marine in the state of Indiana. While we were in this same battle we did not meet until years later, at a Marine Corps function in Indianapolis, IN. Don died a few years ago.

So, this is how Memorial Day goes for me. Not particularly emotional, just respectfully honoring the memories of these warriors I once knew.

At least two other books, besides Don’s, describe aspects of the battle just described. Karl Marlantes’ historical novel Matterhorn makes passing mention of Operation Dewey Canyon (Karl was a Marine lieutenant there at the time). And my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven contains short stories from that time frame (e.g. ‘PUC Beer’). The ‘Smitty Alpha 6’ reference is to my radio call sign then, when I was a company commander with 3rd Shore Party Battalion. My role then? As battalion rigging officer, prepare both Russian artillery pieces for helicopter retrograde back to the Dong Ha forward combat base, before shipment to the U.S. for testing and display. One gun is on permanent display at the USMC Museum in Quantico, VA. Imagine my emotions when I visit the museum and, once again, stand close to it and remember….

George Allen

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