Utah's Top Soldier Receives

Award from His Commander

 

Written by Maj. Hank McIntire

Published April 10, 2007

 

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Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, left, receives the Utah National Guard Joint Medal of Merit Feb. 16 from Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

Photo courtesy of Utah Governor's Office

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, left, receives the Utah National Guard Joint

 Medal of Merit Feb. 16 from Utah Governor Jon M. Huntsman, Jr.

SALT LAKE CITY — Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, adjutant general of the Utah National Guard, received the Utah Joint Medal of Merit in a ceremony at the Utah State Capitol Feb. 16.

To the delight of those in attendance at a regularly scheduled cabinet meeting, Tarbet was “ambushed” by the announcement from Utah National Guard Commander in Chief Gov. Jon M. Huntsman, Jr., himself.

Given his typical aversion to the limelight and his constant focus on the achievements of his Airmen and Soldiers, it’s no surprise that the award came as complete surprise to Tarbet, one of the first recipients of the medal.

“I feel honored to receive the award,” said Tarbet, a Kaysville resident and alumnus of Utah State University and the University of Utah Law School. “But like awards of this kind, it’s really the ones you serve with who do all the work.”

The Joint Medal of Merit is one of the highest honors bestowed by the Utah National Guard and “may be presented to any member of the Utah National Guard who distinguishes himself/herself by exceptional meritorious service while engaged in a joint mission,” according to Utah National Guard Regulation 600-8-22.

The award may also be given to those who have “rendered a distinct service in furthering the interest of and in promoting the image, security, and welfare of the Utah National Guard and the State of Utah.”

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, left, and Gov. Jon Huntsman, center, listen as Col. Scot Olson reads the award citation.

Photo courtesy of Utah Governor's Office

Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, left, and Gov. Jon Huntsman,

center, listen as Col. Scot Olson reads the award citation.

In Tarbet’s case, he met all of the criteria through his leadership of Soldiers and Airmen, his contribution to the security of the state and furthering the interest of the Utah National Guard.

“Major General Tarbet is the embodiment of the Citizen-Soldier . . . and has demonstrated superior leadership, clarity of vision and tenacity in reshaping the Utah Joint Forces Headquarters . . ." wrote Huntsman in the award citation. "[He] has demonstrated  a unique blend of operational experience, mature leadership and professionalism in a multitude of challenging command positions.”

In typical fashion, news of the award did not come from Tarbet himself; rather, members of his staff notified the Public Affairs Office so that members of the Guard and the public could be made aware of the prestigious award for their commander.

Col. Scot Olson, facilities director for the Utah National Guard and a member of Tarbet’s staff for more than ten years, has seen firsthand the leadership and service that made it possible for the general to be one of the first recipients of this prestigious award.

“Every Utah Guard member that has deployed under his command has been in his thoughts and prayers,” said Olson. "There is no better advocate for Soldiers and Airmen and for joint operations than Gen. Tarbet.”

 

 

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