Wednesday, 29 May 2013


                               BLACK        SOCIAL       HISTORY                                                                                                                                                            Alfred K. Flowers born December 29, 1947 is a retired United States Air Force Major General who served in many roles, culminating as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget. At the time of his retirement, Flowers had served more than 46 years on active duty, making him the longest-serving airman in Air Force history and the longest serving African American in the history of the United States Department of Defense. Prior to his retirement, the enlisted members of Air Education and Training Command presented Flowers with the Order of the Sword, the Air Force enlisted force’s highest honor for officer leadership.

Flowers was born in Jones County, North Carolina on 29 December 1947. He was raised in rural Jones County near Phillips Crossroads. At the age of ten, he started working in the fields with his grandparents, who were sharecroppers. He graduated from Jones High School in 1965. Flowers could not afford to attend college so after graduating, he decided to enlist in the Air Force. Because he was only seventeen, his grandmother had to sign a release allowing him to enlist. Flowers entered the Air Force on 5 August 1965.

After completing basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, Flowers was assigned to duty as a supply warehouseman at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota. After two years at Grand Forks, he was retransferred into the air transportation career field and sent to Da Nang Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. At Da Nang, Flowers was responsible for collecting casualties, hauling wounded and deceased soldiers out of the jungle at night.
When his tour in Vietnam was completed, Flowers was reassigned at Norton Air Force Base, California. While at Norton, he met his wife, who was also serving in the Air Force. Two weeks after they were married, she was transferred to Clark Air Base in the Philippines. Six months later, Flower secured a joint-spouse assignment at Clark. During his tour in the Philippines, Flowers began working toward a college degree. When he returned from his overseas assignment, Flower was retrained as an accounting specialist and assigned to Lackland Air Force Base and then to Charleston Air Force Base, South Carolina.
When he completed his bachelor's degree in 1975, Flowers applied for Air Force Officer Training School and was accepted. Shortly after his acceptance, his wife (who was still enlisted) was reassigned to Iraklion Air Base in Greece. Because there was no guarantee of a joint assignment after officer training, he gave up his officer training slot and went with his family to Greece. In 1976, Flowers finished his master's degree and re-applied to the officer training; however, his application was denied. He applied again in 1977 and was denied again. In the meantime, he was reassigned to Travis Air Force Base, California and select for promotion to master sergeant, the Air Force's third highest enlisted grade. While he was waiting to pin on his new rank, he applied for officer training once again. This time he was accepted.

In 1978, Flowers was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the financial management career field. His first officer assignment was at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia. During that three year tour Flowers served as deputy accounting and finance officer, then accounting and finance officer, and finally as the base’s budget officer. He then went to headquarters Tactical Air Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, serving as a command level budget officer for three years.
In July 1985, Flowers was selected for an assignment at Air Force headquarters in The Pentagon. He served three years there, first as a budget officer and the as an executive officer. He attended the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia from July 1989 until January 1990. After graduating from that joint military education program, he was assigned to headquarters Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, as chief of the command’s Budget Operations Division.
In August 1993, Flowers was selected to attend the Industrial College of the Armed Forces at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington, receiving a Master of Science degree from the college in June 1994. This was followed by a budget officer assignment in the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon. In December 1996, Flowers was again assigned to headquarters Air Combat Command, where he served as the command’s budget chief. During the assignment, he was promoted to colonel.
In June 1999, Flowers returned to the Pentagon for another tour, this time as director of Budget Programs in the office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller. Three years later, he was sent to headquarters Air Education and Training Command at Randolph Air Force Base, Texas as the command’s comptroller. He was then assigned to headquarters United States Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. While at MacDill, he was promoted to brigadier general.
Flowers took command of the Air Force Officer Accession and Training Schools in January 2007. He served as the organization's commander until May 2008. During that tour, Flowers was promoted to major general. Flowers was then transferred to Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi where he took command of 2nd Air Force.

Flowers receiving Air Force Distinguished Service Medal from the Secretary of the Air Force
In October 2009, he returned to the Pentagon for his final assignment. He served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget until his retirement on 1 January 2012. During this tour, he was responsible for planning and executing a $119 billion annual budget that financed all Air Force operations including support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Flowers also served on the board of directors for Army and Air Force Exchange Service and the Air Force Aid Society. Prior to his retirement, Flowers was awarded the Order of the Sword, the Air Force enlisted force’s highest honor for officer leadership. Several hundred people attend the Order of the Sword ceremony held at the Pentagon’s Airman Hall.
At the time of his retirement, Flowers was the longest serving active duty member in Air Force history. He was also the longest serving African American in the history of the United States Department of Defense. His retirement ceremony was held at on 16 November 2011 at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington. The Secretary of the Air Force, Michael B. Donley and the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Financial Management and Comptroller, Jamie M. Morin both attended his retirement ceremony.

The effective date of his retirement was 1 January 2012. After retiring from the Air Force, Flowers and his wife moved to San Antonio, where he works with military and veterans groups as a volunteer and a speaker. He also helped develop an enlisted heritage museum. According to Flowers, when he experiences military withdrawal pains, he visits Lackland Air Force Base to watch 700 new airmen march in their basic training graduation parade.