National Guard SGT
Traverse City, MI
Operation Iraqi Freedom
Memorial Location: 

VFW Post 2780
3800 Veterans Drive
Traverse City, MI

Died at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas, on December 8, 2005 of injuries sustained in Habbaniyah, Iraq, on November 21, when an improvised explosive device detonated new his HMMWV during combat operations.

Akers was assigned to the Army National Guard's Battalion, 125th Infantry Regiment, Saginaw, MI.

Sgt. Spencer Akers was born on March 6, 1970 in Wayne County and is the son of Don and Carole Akers. He was raised in the Tustin area with his sister on their parent’s farm. Spencer leaves behind his parents, sister Jeannine, brother-in-law Randy, nieces Laci and Larah and nephews Tyeler and Jordan as well as many aunts, uncles and cousins.

It was because of a pig on the farm that Spencer received a nickname from his sister. On that particular day a delivery of pigs had just been dropped off and one of those stood out from all of the rest. To Jeannine, he was a handsome pig; smart in every way, so smart that he deserved the name Spencer… henceforth came the name Spencer-Boar. Up until the day that Spencer-Boar became an American Hero, he and his sister shared the infamous “love hate relationship.” They loved to hate each other. This could be seen quite well on the outside, but on the inside it was quite the opposite. Spencer has always been very protective of his sister and her children, especially of his niece Laci. When Laci entered the dating world, Uncle Spencer made it well known to the potential boyfriends that if they did anything to hurt her, they would pay a huge price for it.

Throughout high school, Spencer was involved in sports such as basketball and football and he loved going to the gym. He had received his varsity letter in football from Pine River High School. He continued his love for sports even a world away when he was in Iraq by staying involved with his online fantasy football league. He ultimately became the season champion by winning the last game, the day he was injured. Spencer, in his earthly body; never got to know the results of the season as he never made it back to the base to log onto his computer. His parents were presented with the trophy he won. He had also organized a ball team to play in the dusty ASP instead of his softball team at the Traverse City Civic Center. Some of his other passions included his online computer gaming and playing paintball. As Chaplain (MAJ) Douglas A. Etter explained in his Memorial Tribute for Sgt. Akers in Iraq, “At a paintball tournament one time, he entered a contest which involved eating non toxic paintballs. Whoever ate the most, would win a fancy brand new paintball gun. And Spencer started wolfing down those paint balls, in front of hundreds of people, as if they were cherry tomatoes. Green, blue, yellow and red, all the colors of the rainbow spurted from his bright smile as he held his new paint ball gun above his head for the cheering crowd.”

In the spring of 1988 he graduated from Pine River High School. After high school, just as his father did with the Air Force, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. Upon completion of his initial entry training in the Army he transferred to active duty where he served overseas in Germany and stateside in Louisiana. He served voluntarily in Operation Desert Storm and Desert Shield. After active duty he returned to Michigan where he served in the Michigan Army National Guard with E Co. 1/125 Inf. In February of 2002 he was deployed to the Windsor Tunnel to provide border security following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In February of 2005, Sgt. Akers went through training in Mississippi before being deployed to Iraq in June 2005 for Operation Iraqi Freedom with B Co. 1/125 Inf. He served his country heroically until November 21st, 2005 when the Humvee he was riding exploded due to an IED detonated by an insurgent. Prior to his injury he was stationed in Habbaniyah, Iraq, the only major red spot on the map at the time in terms of infantrymen being deployed to a serious hostile environment. Captain A. Dennis stated, “The reasons we have had such a large number of wounded and killed in action is because we have seen a lot of action.”

Akers passed away on December 8th, 2005, after 18 days of fighting for his life from wounds sustained on November 21st in Iraq. He was laid to rest on April 29, 2006 following his funeral with full military honors on December 17th 2005 in his hometown of Tustin, Michigan.

Sgt. Akers awards and achievements include, the Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserves Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal with two Bronze Service Stars, Southwest Asia Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with “M” device, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Michigan Service Medal, Michigan State War on Terrorism Ribbon, Michigan Outside United States Ribbon and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

Spencer left a legacy that not many people can. He will always be remembered and missed by many. Sgt. Akers is a tremendous example of what our men and women in uniform do for our country and they deserve recognition. As Jeannine stated in her eulogy at Spence’s funeral, “The next time that you pass a man or woman in any of the services, take time out of your day just to say, thank you… it will only take ten seconds out of your life. Remember what my brother gave to you… the rest of his life.”


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