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A Career That Blossomed: Maj. Gen. Alfred Flowers, USAF's longest serving airman and currently its deputy assistant secretary for budget, is retiring after 46 years of service. A native of Kinston, N.C., Flowers joined the Air Force at age 17. He began his active duty career in 1965 as a supply warehouseman at Grand Forks AFB, N.D. In 1968, he served as an air transportation specialist at Da Nang AB, Vietnam. After 13 years in the enlisted corps, Flowers received a commission as a financial management officer in 1978 and went on to assignments including US Special Operations Command's director of resources and head of 2nd Air Force at Keesler AFB, Miss. In all, he's had 25 assignments. Flowers' retirement takes effect on Jan. 1, but his retirement ceremony and banquet took place on Nov. 17 at JB Anacostia-Bolling, D.C. During the ceremony, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley presented Flowers with the Distinguished Service Medal. "We all do our jobs and do them the best we can, but we could not do them without the people around us," said Flowers. "The people are what I will miss the most." (SAF/PA report by TSgt. Richard Williams)