|Veteran Spotlight: Lt. Col. Lance English|
|By Wayne Soares, Special to iBerkshires|
04:05PM / Sunday, January 16, 2022
Lt. Col. Lance English and his son.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An absolute pleasure this month to interview Lance English, from the class of 1980 at Drury High School.
English spent a total of 28 years in active and Reserves in the Army and an additional seven years of service in the government sector. He retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Army Reserves.
After graduating from Drury he attended Norwich University in Vermont, where he majored in military studies and government and was a member of ROTC, Reserve Officers' Training Corps.
"Norwich University shaped my life. My son went there as well and is a graduate of the class of 2020 (he currently serves in the Air Force and is stationed in Guam)," English said. He personally commissioned his son and call it the "highlight of his military career."
He was sent to basic Armor School Training at Fort Knox, Ky., in 1985, which was a longer basic training course for those in Officer Candidate School. It was the cavalry track of the armored course and he was a member of an infantry mortar platoon. His first duty assignment would take him to Fort Carson, Colo., with the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry.
"We were in the field all the time," he recalled. When the Army transitioned his squadron to the 2nd Squad, 7th Cavalry, where he served as platoon leader.
"It was intimidating as it was a tremendous responsibility ... I relied on my platoon sergeant. Most guys were Vietnam veterans," he remembered. After being selected for captain, he was transferred to military intelligence and then was sent to Fort Huachuca in Arizona, where he served in counter intelligence.
English was then assigned to the 66th Military Intelligence Brigade at McGraw Kaserne in Munich, Germany ("looking for spies during The Cold War").
He arrived in September. His first impression? "I wanted to go to Oktoberfest ... didn't speak a word of German but asked someone and they said, 'just follow the lines.' I finally made it and had a ball," he remembered.
English commented on his mission that "we were debriefers. We had a program that we ran — where was the unit you were assigned to? What were your wartime missions? etc. It was overwhelming with all of the people we debriefed."
When asked about being away for the holidays, he offered this: "It was hard. We made do ourselves, my wife and I. You tried to travel as much as you could and hang out with friends that were in the same boat as you. You got to make some health and wellness calls back home but nothing like today."
He also shared a somewhat humorous story. "My mom had put something in the local paper about me being deployed overseas. Some reporter from a local paper got wind of it and called me to do a story. Spoke with him for a while," he said laughing. He would return home and be assigned to Fort Meade in Maryland from 1993 to 1995.
"They say when you leave Germany, you leave with a wife, baby and grandfather's clock, which I did," he said with a chuckle.
At Fort Meade, he would be assigned to the 902nd Military Intelligence Brigade, a technical battalion that performed ‘tech surveillance sweeps.' When asked about mentors, English said, "the Norwich guys that were ahead of me. I always turned to and admired them."
English turned down an assignment to go to Korea and took advantage of a "buyout" the Army was offering. "It seemed great at the time, but then a hiring freeze went into effect for two years. I had a wife and small children and had to do odd jobs just to keep food on the table." He would be rehired and work for the Defense Intelligence Agency and CIA until 2012 at the Pentagon and work in joint Reserve intelligence. "It was hard work but exciting work providing briefings to the highest levels of military."
He retired in 2021 from the civil Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He is married with four children. "It was an honor to serve. It was like an obligation. I feel I made contributions even though I never stepped on a battlefield. I look back fondly. The missions were always important to me.
Lt. Colonel Lance English, thank you for your service to our great country.
Veteran Spotlight is a column by Wayne Soares that runs twice a month. Soares is a motivational speaker and comedian who has frequently entertained the troops overseas with the USO. To recommend a veteran for Soares' column, write to email@example.com.