Major General Brian Tarbet’s military career began shortly after his graduation from Utah State University in 1973. For 12 transformational years, starting in October of 2000, he was Adjutant General of Utah with responsibility for the 7500 soldiers, airmen and civilian employees of the Utah National Guard.
The highly-regarded and highly-decorated leader retired in September after a career that demanded repeated deployment of National Guard soldiers, mostly to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Tuesday, General Tarbet said he was privileged to travel overseas 13 times to visit with the troops.
“That’s been the best part of the job,” Tarbet said, “to go watch these marvelous young soldiers and airmen out doing what they do, and taking the pride in it that they do and seeing the excellence they bring to it. It has been the most rewarding part of my job, certainly, to watch them in action.”
The Logan native has been called “one of the best the military has to offer” and he has received high praise for commanding the troops through 9-11, the 2002 Olympics, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
General Tarbet said he is proud of what the Guard has done to build comprehensive family support programs to meet the needs of Guard spouses, children and families.
General Tarbet said the hardest part was dealing with what has become an epidemic, suicide, although he said the Guard’s working hard to address the issue
“There are a host of programs, the chains of command, the battle buddy system, keep an eye on your battle buddy, the chain of command the first sergeants, the command sergeants major. The commanding officers watch this closely. Honestly sometimes we just don’t see the symptoms in time. It’s a huge problem. It’s a problem we’re aggressively trying to deal with but we, by and large, have not solved it yet.”
Before joining the military General Tarbet received a law degree and he plans to go back to work soon in the Utah Attorney General’s office. He will also be teaching a class at USU.