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NEWS | Feb. 4, 2022

BASOPS transportation director provides words of wisdom as she retires on Black History Month with 47.5 years of service

By Cameron Porter 405th Army Field Support Brigade

Every year during the month of February the Army highlights some of its outstanding leaders, both past and present, as part of Black History Month. After serving in the Army as a civilian employee for nearly five decades, one leader at the 405th Army Field Support Brigade is preparing for retirement and enjoying her last month of service.

Anita Lynce, who is the director of Base Support Operations Transportation, 405th AFSB, started her journey with the Army in 1975. As a black female working for the Army as a civilian employee for 47 years and six months, Lynce has seen a lot of changes. But one thing that hasn’t changed is her love for the Soldiers and Families she’s supported for all these years.

“I love what I do, I love supporting Soldiers and their Families, and I’m going to miss it a lot,” Lynce said.

Lynce has made helping Soldiers and their Families one of her career objectives. For example, one time a young Soldier and his even younger spouse came to her with marital problems. The spouse was crying and very upset, but Lynce said she could tell they cared deeply for each other. She sat with them for a couple of hours, empathizing with them and guiding them using her own experiences and wisdom.

“I said to the spouse ‘look, you’re new to the military so let me explain. When you hear he’s at a GI Party that means he’s in the barracks cleaning up. He’s not at a party. That’s not something you can go to. That’s something he has to do with his unit,’” Lynce said.

A lot of it was just miscommunication and misunderstandings, it seemed to Lynce.

“Terms like that mean something different to us than it does to a young military spouse,” she added.

Another time Lynce’s commander asked a fellow colonel and friend of his to stop by Lynce’s office and speak with her. Her commander knew Lynce had something special to offer and could help.

“I learned that he was getting ready to retire, and his wife decided she wanted a divorce.” Lynce said. “He kept coming back to see me, and one day we were talking and I immediately picked up on something serious.”

“I said ‘Sir, are you okay? Some of the things you’re saying don’t sound like you’re okay,’” Lynce said.

Lynce sensed something was very wrong. She immediately called her commander and told him that his friend was exhibiting suicidal ideations.

“He came back in about two weeks later and said ‘thank you, Ms. Lynce. I really appreciate you. When I left your office that day I was in a bad way, so I appreciate you noticing and taking the time to reach out and help keep me on the right track,’” said Lynce.

One of things about the Army she said she respects and loves is how tight-knit the Army community is and how everyone takes care of each other.

While working at Fort Hood, Texas, after 9/11, there were a lot of young Soldiers who were set to deploy, said Lynce.

“A lot of them were coming straight out of basic training and advanced individual training to Fort Hood and immediately deploying,” said Lynce. “I guess they thought of me as a mother figure because many of them would come and talk to me, and they were scared to death.”

“I said ‘you’re going to be okay. You need to follow what your sergeant taught you to do in your training, and you’re going to be okay. Keep your prayers, keep your worship with God, but you’re going to be okay.’ I asked ‘you’re going to come back and see me when you return, right? I’m going to be here waiting for you, and my doors are always open,’” said Lynce.

And a lot of them did visit Lynce after their deployments. Others never made it back, and that was very hard for her. Lynce interacted with thousands of Soldiers throughout her career, treating many of them like her own children.

“I’d give my phone number to anyone who needed my help and tell them to call any time, day or night,” said Lynce. “I’m a military brat – my father served for 26 years – and I’ve been doing this for 47 and half years. If the Army taught me one thing it’s to care. I really care.”

Lynce said she’s going to miss her work and all the wonderful team members she’s had the pleasure of working with over the years. She was the chief of personal property at Fort Hood. She worked at U.S. Transportation Command. She was assigned to Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Fort Bliss, Texas; and Fort Bragg, N.C. She’s even done a tour in Japan and two tours in Germany – and so much more. Lynce started her Army career as a commissary cashier and government civilian GS4 in 1975. And all that knowledge and experience she’s gained over the years has helped her to be successful at her current and final position in the Army as the BASOPS Transportation director with the 405th AFSB.

“My team I have now at the 405th AFSB is great, and I’ve had great teams my whole career,” she said.

As she closes one amazing chapter, Lynce said she looks forward to the next. She’ll return to Killeen, Texas, where it all started and where both of her two sons live as well as her brother and two sisters.

“One of my grandchildren is in Houston, and one is in Austin. Almost everyone is in Texas,” said Lynce who has three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. “And I have an aunt who is 99 and will be 100-years-old in July. She’s my only aunt on both sides of my family who is still living. She’s also in Houston, which is only about a 3-hour drive away. I’ll spend lots of time with her, as well.”

Lynce said she’ll do some volunteering and some work at her church. With a congregation of about 450 members, that should keep her busy. She’s previously served as a Sunday school teacher and superintendent there for many years.

Lynce has had many good mentors over the years, she said, and she hopes that she was a good mentor to others, as well. She departs the Army on Black History Month with a few final words of wisdom.

“You’re only going to get what you put into it,” she said about working for the Army. “You’re going to have different people with different ideas. Don’t be judgmental. Be open to learn from different people – people of different nationalities, different cultures, different backgrounds, different races, and different religious preferences. Be open to new things and new ideas.”  

“And listen,” she said. “I listen a lot.”