Earlier this month, Major-General Alfred Flowers traded his United States Air Force blue uniforms for retirement attire, stepping away from the duties he loved, after 46-years of both enlisted and commissioned military service. Retiring as budget direct of his branch, General Flowers had the distinction of being the longest-serving, active-duty member of the Air Force, and the longest-serving, active-duty Black-American in the history of our nation's Department of Defense.
Finishing his selfless service to America with acclimation and admiration at the top of his trade, was far different from General Flowers early-life, which began in abject poverty. As a Military.com article detailed, his grandmother brought him in a shoe-box to their tin-roof home, with no running water, and kept him warm through the night, by the heat of a wood-burning stove. At age-ten, he went to work in the fields, laboring along-side the adults. Hoping there was more to life, at age 17, he joined the Air Force.
Going on to earn three college degrees, his abilities, hard work and drive to excel, propelled his life from poverty to an incredible military career, including command of the Second Air Force. Said the General about his decision to join: "I came in because I had to. I stayed because I wanted to." Clearly following in his Dad's successful footsteps, his son is currently an Air Force Lieutenant-Colonel.
As for managing his branch's almost $120-billion budget, said the General: "You're entrusted with the taxpayer's money. I've never taken that lightly." Would that more government officials followed that same admonition and responsibility. Our congratulations and sincere thanks to Major-General Alfred Flowers for his over-four-decades of proud and dedicated service to our great nation.