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F. Richard Spencer (born June 10, 1951) is an American Roman Catholic priest. Currently a priest of the Archdiocese of Baltimore and U.S. Army chaplain, he was appointed an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services by Pope Benedict XVI on May 22, 2010.
Spencer was born in Sylacauga, Alabama, and graduated from Sylacauga High School in 1969. He then attended Jacksonville State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in law enforcement. He also received a Master of Education degree in counseling from the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse. Spencer was commissioned an Army officer in 1973 and began serving active duty 1974. Following Military Police Officer Basic Course and Airborne training, he was assigned as the first active duty Provost Marshal since 1954 to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. He served as commander of the Military Police Detachment at Fort McCoy until summer 1977, when he was assigned to serve with the 2nd Infantry Division at Camp Casey in South Korea.
Inspired by Father Emil Kapaun, an Army chaplain who died as a prisoner of war during the Korean War, Spencer was released from active duty in 1980 to pursue his studies for the priesthood. He initially studied under the Order of Friars Minor of the Holy Name Province, but was later recruited for the Archdiocese of Baltimore by Archbishop William Donald Borders. He earned Master of Divinity and Bachelor of Sacred Theology degrees from St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland. On May 14, 1988, Spencer was ordained a priest by Archbishop Borders at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen.
His first assignment was as an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Church in Glyndon, for three years. In 1991, he was named director of the Monsignor Clare J. O'Dwyer Retreat House in Sparks, and also accessioned again into the Army Reserve as a battalion chaplain, serving with the 92nd Field Hospital in Baltimore and the Aviation Brigade of the Maryland Army National Guard. Following his completion of the Chaplain Officer Advance Course in 1994, Spencer served a deployment in Europe in support of Bosnia as a National Guardsman. From 1994 to 1998, he was administrator of St. Peter the Apostle Church in Oakland.
Spencer returned to active duty ministry in January 1999, and served as the 2nd Engineer Brigade Chaplain at Camp Howze in South Korea. In 2000, he served a deployment in Egypt supporting the Fort Bragg mission in the Sinai Peninsula. From 2001 to 2005, he was an official of the Pentagon Office of Army Chief Chaplains, and served a deployment tour in Iraq with the 1st Cavalry Division. In the summer of 2005, he began a one year program as a student of Clinical Pastoral Education at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 2005, and was appointed an episcopal vicar for the Archdiocese for the Military Services in 2006.
In the summer of 2006, Spencer was assigned to serve as the Senior Clinician at the 121st Combat Support Hospital, the Deputy 18th MEDCOM Command Chaplain, and the Catholic pastor of Yongson in Seoul. In June 2008, he was appointed to serve as the Division Chaplain of the Second Infantry Division in Korea, and currently serves as a Deputy Command Chaplain of the U.S. Army Europe for Operations, Plans and Training.
On May 22, 2010, Spencer was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services and titular bishop of Auzia by Pope Benedict XVI. His episcopal consecration has been set for 2:00 p.m. on September 8, 2010, in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C..
Spencer's awards include: The Meritorious Service Medal (3 Oak Leaf Cluster), Army Commendation Medal (5 Oak Leaf Clusters), Iraq Combat Medal, and the Korean Service Medal. He was awarded the Combat Action Badge for specific combat actions in Iraq in 2004. His fraternal activities include a Papal Honor as a Knight of the Holy Sepulchre and also a member of the Kappa Sigma Social Fraternity.