News: Tennessee National Guard’s first female command sergeant major retires
Story by Niki Gentry
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A milestone in the history of women’s service with the Tennessee National Guard occurred on March 31, 2014, when Command Sgt. Maj. Deborah K. Rose-Spangler, the first female to reach the rank of command sergeant major in the Tennessee Guard, retired after 37 years of service. Rose-Spangler enlisted in the Tennessee National Guard on August 22, 1976, beginning her career as an administrative specialist with the 130th Rear Area Support Company.
Rose-Spangler held numerous positions in the Tennessee National Guard during her service, to include 19 years of active duty with the Guard’s Counterdrug Task Force. Her most recent mission was serving with the 230th Special Troops Battalion where she deployed with the unit in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2011 and Operation Ulchi Freedom Guardian in 2013. During her last deployment she served as the command sergeant major to the Deputy Combined Rear Area Coordinator, United Nations Command.
“I can say without hesitation Command Sgt. Maj. Rose-Spangler ‘broke the glass ceiling’,” said Maj. Gen. Max Haston, the adjutant general of Tennessee. “Her leadership and professionalism is an example all National Guard Soldiers and Airmen should strive to emulate.”
The Tennessee National Guard’s Senior Enlisted Leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Scott said, “she is the consummate professional, continually demonstrating the resiliency necessary to break through all the barriers and overcoming all the obstacles placed before her. Rose-Spangler will be missed, but the example she has set has made the Army National Guard a stronger and better organization than when she arrived.”
Col. William Del Castillo, commander of the 230th Sustainment Brigade stated, “Command Sgt. Maj. Rose-Spangler will always be considered a trailblazer. Her dedication to the troops is second to none and her guidance and mentorship to prepare her subordinates for future advancement was always in the best tradition of the brigade and the overall Tennessee National Guard.” Del Castillo emphasized Rose-Spangler embodied the spirit of being “Always Prepared, Always Ready,” which he said is a invaluable to Soldiers in training or combat.
Command Sgt. Maj. Rose-Spangler said, “The Tennessee Army National Guard has been a great career. I have watched the Guard evolve from very few women serving in its ranks to witness many attain very critical leadership positions. I encourage all young soldiers to work hard and always be looking for the next assignment to achieve their goals. They should remember to take care of their fellow Soldiers when in a leadership position and that element of the mission should never stop.”
Rose-Spangler’s military career has not only involved the stress of deployment and military missions but also the very personal battle with cancer she endured from 2009 to 2011. Fortunately, the disease fell into remission and through her struggle she said she gained a greater perspective of never taking life, family or career for granted. “It doesn’t matter if you are battling cancer or in a combat zone, with determination and hard work you can achieve anything.”
Rose-Spangler has been married 28 years to Bill Spangler. They have one son Dennis, daughter-in-law Jessie and two grandchildren, Austin and Addison. Rose-Spangler indicated after many years of travel and long work days she looks forward to retirement and is grateful to the many Soldiers, Airmen, leaders and friends who have helped her forge a very successful life and career.