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Military Retirement Ceremony Held for ASU ROTC Detachment Commander

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Author: Lois G. Russell

Release Date: Jul 29, 2016

The longest serving airman in United States Air Force history was among those gathered on the ASU campus recently to honor Lt. Col. Tangela D. Spencer, commander of ASU’s ROTC Detachment 019, upon her retirement from the armed services.



Alabama State University joined members of the military community on Thursday, July 28 in honoring Lt. Col. Tangela D. Spencer during her official retirement ceremony.

Spencer is a 28-year Air Force veteran who has served at Alabama State University for the past three years as the commander of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 019.

Spencer's husband, Ronald, her daughter, son, mother and other family members attended the ceremony.

The ceremony also drew a number of military personnel, as well as retired Major General Alfred K. Flowers, who served in the Air Force for more than 46 years, making him the longest-serving airman in Air Force history, the longest-serving African-American in the history of the United States Department of Defense and the longest serving official in all of the Department of Defense at the time of his retirement.

Flowers said he and Spencer have a longstanding  professional relationship of more than a decade, with Spencer serving under Flowers several times during her career, including at Montgomery's Maxwell Air Force Base.

"I am here to help to retire Lieutenant Colonel Spencer, one of the greatest airmen that I know and one of the most respected people that I've ever worked with," said Flowers. "What an honor to be here to share her retirement with her. She is an amazing lady. But this is really a transitioning ceremony, because she will never quit. Six months from now, she will transition to something else, and you'll hear about how wonderful she's doing in that job."

Flowers and ASU President Gwendolyn E. Boyd commended Spencer for her record of service at the University.

"Lt. Col. Spencer has provided her students with an exemplary model of the core values of the United States Air Force: ‘Integrity First; Service before Self; and Excellence in All We Do,’ said Boyd. "Beyond the classroom, Alabama State University has truly benefitted from Lt. Col. Spencer’s talents and abilities."

Spencer's record of service includes assignments across the United States and in Korea. A 1988 graduate of Grambling State University, Spencer has held various positions of leadership in the Air Force, earning a number of major awards and decorations for her service.

At ASU, she has been responsible for the commissioning of 17 officers, which is unprecedented over the same period of time in the University's history. Also under her leadership, Detachment 019 earned top honors as an ROTC unit.

"My time here at Alabama State has been phenomenal," said Spencer. "I am so thankful to have a new family. It's just been the best experience of my life. I will never forget my Hornet Nation. As a matter of fact, I think I'm about to go get my season passes."

Spencer said that she does not plan to stop working after retirement.

"I will be working somewhere; I can't just sit still. Hopefully, I will continue to do what I've been doing, which is making a difference with somebody, particularly students. That's where my passion is, and I honestly believe that's where my calling is. I love what I do, and I'm going to continue to do it in some capacity," Spencer added.

During the ceremony, a number of special presentations were made to Spencer, signifying her retirement and commending her service to the Air Force and to Alabama State University. She also received a certificate from President Barack Obama.

Spencer's retirement will become effective in November.


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