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Dark Horse: General Larry O. Spencer and His Journey from the Horseshoe to the Pentagon

3 December 2021

Dark Horse: General Larry O. Spencer and His Journey from the Horseshoe to the Pentagon, General Larry O. Spencer USAF (retired), 2021, ISBN 9781682477021, 162 pp.

Larry Spencer is a remarkable person on several counts. To those of us on the lower rungs of society he made it from the hood to flag officer in the U.S. Air Force (USAF). To those in the USAF he made it to four star generalship not by being a fighter pilot (the regular route), or even by being a pilot (my Lord!)—but by being a financial analyst (What?). To most of us he is what we all work to be—honest, hard working, intelligent and knowing full well he got where he did with the help of others. A humble, intelligent, dutiful person not likely to be heard of by most of the population—unlike too many of those over-the-top reality show characters with their broken personalities which are entertaining if you are not having to live or work with them. It is a real person like General Larry Spencer (USAF, ret.), who should be lauded and emulated and this autobiography is an excellent, as well as enjoyable, way to make a better life through clear thinking, family and wise people who freely give their time.

Spencer is also a great story teller with many tales to tell. Naturally enough his story begins at the beginning—born and initially raised in an all Afro-American neighborhood of Washington DC—with summers spent on a relative’s tobacco farm in Virginia. His experiences with his Virginia relatives are enlightening and extraordinary to those who are not in a minority. These relatives grew up in the Jim Crow Era South and the local population-of-means appeared to wish to remain there. Can you imagine not raising your voice in town to say hello for fear of being beaten? Most of us cannot which makes but Spencer’s description that much more visceral.

Spencer intriguingly describes childhood clues to his talent to analyze math and facts to be efficient with funds. These clues illustrate why a wide exposure of experiences to children is imperative with immediate reinforcement of success, whatever it may be. 

Fighter pilots make films.

Bomber pilots make history.

Nothing moves without logistics.

Logistics are frozen unless the money is moving. 

This is where the author excelled in serving his country—his fantastic ability at keeping things moving through thrift, efficiency, observation, thinking and conferring. How he managed that through education and promotions leading to his appointment to the Pentagon as a four star is a tale worth listening to in order to gain deeper understanding of how historic event are really made possible. 

Spencer also accomplished all his successes with compassion. His understanding of human nature seems innate and shows how relating instead of simply demanding can be a tremendously more successful strategy. Thinking and intelligence with heart—a superior combination to enjoy in the reading of Larry Spencer’s life and USAF career.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick Veronico permalink
    3 December 2021 15:57

    Interesting review of a real American hero!

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      3 December 2021 22:17

      Yes he is 🙂 And the book about this USAF man is published by the Naval Institute Press, no less!

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