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    Pioneer of Service: Lt. Gen. A.C. Roper Steps Down After Remarkable Military Career

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    Former Birmingham Police Chief and the first Black lieutenant general in the U.S. Army Reserve, Lt. Gen. A.C. Roper, has officially retired after more than 40 years of service, marking the conclusion of a distinguished career that covered both military and civilian spheres.

    Roper’s retirement is a seminal moment, reflecting not only the culmination of a storied career but also a milestone for representation and diversity within the military. As he stepped down, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell took to the House Floor to express the nation’s gratitude. “Lieutenant General Roper’s reputation has always been one of great purpose and great passion,” Sewell said. “He is an honorable man, guided by an abiding faith in God and a love of country.”

    Roper’s journey began with a commission in 1983 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Throughout his service, he seamlessly balanced his responsibilities in law enforcement with his military commitments.

    240205-D-ON707-1007” by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is licensed under CC BY 2.0

    His roles were marked by significant challenges and responsibilities, including deployments to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Shield and Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom, and support for hurricane relief operations in southern Florida.

    In May 2021, Roper made history as the first African American three-star general in the Army Reserve.

    His leadership extended to the role of Deputy Commander of the United States Northern Command and Vice Commander of the U.S. Element of North American Aerospace Defense Command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

    While there, he played a crucial role in anticipating and responding to a myriad of threats, demonstrating steadfast commitment to national security.

    The general’s impact was also felt through his contributions to public safety, having led the Birmingham Police Department as chief, where he was known for his “firm yet compassionate leadership style,” as Rep. Sewell put it. Roper also emphasized the importance of family support in his career, praising his wife Edith and daughters for their critical role. In a touching moment during his retirement ceremony, Roper received his ‘final salute’ from his daughter, Krystle, an active-duty Army captain.

    “Although I’ve served the last six years on active duty, the Army Reserve was a perfect fit since it allowed me the flexibility to pursue my civilian law enforcement career,’’ Roper said. “However, I must admit I had absolutely no idea I would become the first African American to ever achieve the rank of Lieutenant General in its history. I appreciate how our younger service members find that to be inspirational.”

    240205-F-GD090-1263” by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    Roper’s retirement is a reflection of his enduring legacy, one that has inspired countless service members and law enforcement officers. His story is one of breaking barriers and serving with distinction, setting a powerful example for future generations.

    240205-F-GD090-1270” by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Kathleen H. Hicks is licensed under CC PDM 1.0

    As he enters the next chapter, Roper looks forward to continuing his passion for leadership development, corporate governance, and organizational excellence. “I believe the best is yet to come,” he stated, encapsulating the optimism and drive that characterized his career.

    Relevant articles:
    Former Birmingham police chief, US Army Reserve’s 1st Black lieutenant general, retires from military, AL.com
    Rep. Sewell honors the retirement of Lt. Gen. A.C. Roper, Alabama Political Reporter
    Terri A. Sewell (via Public) / Rep. Sewell Honors the Retirement of Lieutenant General A. C. Roper, the Former Birmingham Police Chief and First African American Three, Public now

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