Lyndon Spencer was born on January 26, 1898, at Hornell, N.Y., and was graduated from Batavia High School, N.Y., in 1915.
Appointed a Cadet on July 27, 1916, he was graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, New London, Conn., with a commission of Ensign on August 4, 1918.
After serving a brief assignment in the New York Division, he was transferred in September 1918 as a Student to the Officer Material School at the University of Pennsylvania. From January to September of 1919, he was assigned to the USCGC Snohomish and during the following three years served stints on board the Cutters Algonquin, Bear, Snohomish and Tampa.
From September 1922 to May 1925, he was assigned to the staff at the Coast Guard Academy. Transferred next to the Destroyer Force used by the Coast Guard during the “rum war”, he served first as Executive Officer of the destroyer Cummings of Division One, Boston, until November 1926, and then commanded the destroyer Monaghan of Division Four out of Newport News, Va., until October 1928. After next serving two years of duty as Executive Officer of the Cutter Pontchartrain, he returned to the Destroyer Force to command the Abel P. Upshur of Division One.
In June 1931, he was assigned to the Personnel Division at Coast Guard Headquarters, Washington, D.C. In October 1934, he placed in commission the new ice-breaking cutter USCGC Algonquin and then commanded that vessel for two years. In September 1936 to July 1938, he commanded the USCGC Chelan, and then returned to the Boston Division to serve as its chief of Staff.
World War II
From December 1941 to September 1943, during World War II, he served as Assistant Personnel Officer at Coast Guard Headquarters. In addition he served as a member of the Board of Control, Coast Guard Welfare.
He next commanded the Coast Guard-manned assault troop transport USS Bayfield (APA-33), which served as flagship of a Naval Task Force effecting landings on Cherbourg Peninsula during the initial invasion of France in June 1944. For exceptionally meritorious service during that period of his command, the then Captain Spencer was awarded the Legion of Merit, accompanied by a citation from the Commander, U.S. Naval Forces in Europe. Under his command, the Bayfield also served as flagship during the invasion of Southern France. The French Government awarded him the Croix de Guerre with Gold Star for his part in the liberation of France.
In September 1944, he returned to Coast Guard Headquarters for duty in the Office of Operations. Two months later he became Assist. Chief Operations Officer. Meanwhile, he was appointed a flag officer to rank as Rear Admiral from October 1, 1944. On December 1, 1945, he was designated Chief, Office of Merchant Marine Safety. He retired from that post on November 1, 1946. He was promoted to Vice Admiral on the retired list.
Following is a resume of VADM Spencer’s appointments in rank: Ensign, August 4, 1918; Lieutenant (jg), September 27, 1918; Lieutenant, January 12, 1923; Lieut. Commander, July 10, 1925; Commander, December 1, 1936; Captain, December 1, 1942; Rear Admiral, October 1, 1944; Vice Admiral (Retired), November 1, 1946.
Vice Admiral Spencer was married to the former Lucile L. of New London, Conn., in February 1920. They have two daughters, June, the wife of LCDR E.S. Ruete, USN, and Claire, wife of LCDR John W. Lipscomb, USN, and five grandchildren.
Upon his retirement, Vice Admiral Spencer became Vice President of Lake Carriers’ Association, an association of Great Lakes vessel operators with offices in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1950, he was appointed Executive Vice President and in 1952 he became President of the Association, which position he still holds.