Commander Charles Spense graduated from Deridder High School in the late 1960s and went on to attend Northwestern State University.
At that time, things were really heating up in Vietnam and the draft was in full swing. However, an ever-growing threat was the advancement of communism in Europe.
The “Iron Curtain” stretched across Germany and the Berlin Wall had been completed. The Cold War was was not invisible – it was now a threat to all of the world.
Just as with all serviceman, Spence took a battery of tests in order to determine how he could best serve his country. His test results showed that Spense was best qualified to serve in military personnel.
After Basic and AIT training, Spense was assigned to TASCOM and sent to Gliessen Army Depot in Germany.
Gliessen Army Depot was one of the largest depot facilities in all of Europe with its own railway system and warehouses.
It was headquarters for the US Army Materiel Management Agency Europe, Transportation Command, 15th Military Police Brigade, Combat Equipment Group, 1st Support Brigade, NATO/ SHAPE Support Group, 59th Ordnance Group, 60th Ordnance Group, Procurement Agency, Postal Agency Europe, six support districts, four Army depots, four maintenance plants, 112 labor service centers, the 76th US Army Band, Mortuary System, and NCO Academy.
TASCOM was the largest logistical organization with more than 69,000 people serving over 400,000 American in Europe, Asia and Africa.
With that many people, Personnel Management was a logistical nightmare.
Spense stayed busy all of the time because everything had to be done by hand.
When his time in the military was over, Spense returned to Deridder and started a career with Boise Paper Mill that last more than a quarter of a century.
Nowadays, almost all of Spense’s free time is consumed by his duties as Commander of American Legion Post 27.
At the Post Home, Spense has done everything from calling bingo to sweeping the hall. Maybe that is one of the reasons he is still the Post Commander.
If you see Spense, or any veteran, he would surely appreciate a handshake and acknowledgement of the sacrifice and the commitment veterans have made in the lofty endeavor of securing American liberty.
They are solely responsible for having protected our fortunate state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one's way of life, behavior or political views. And that is priceless act of service.