Utah TAG change of command ceremony conducted at 2012 Governor's Day

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Lillian Harnden
  • 151 ARW/PA
Approximately 7,500 Utah Army and Air National Guardsmen marched in a pass-and-review parade before the commander in chief of the Utah National Guard, Governor Gary R. Herbert, during the 59th annual Governor's Day event at Camp Williams September 29.

To observe the state of readiness of the Utah National Guard, Herbert conducted an official review of nearly 70 Army battalions and 20 Air Force squadrons as they stood in formation across the breadth of the parade field.

"It's an inspiring sight," said Herbert. "The on-the-ready minutemen, the 7,500 soldiers and airmen, who are supporting our constitution, and fighting for freedom and liberty, it's just an inspiring, humbling sight for me," said Herbert.

The Chief of the National Guard Bureau, General Frank J. Grass, also spoke to the Guardsmen standing in formation.

"Having had the opportunity to observe Utah, I know that your homeland response force was the first in the nation - it's second to none," said Grass. "Setting aside these tremendous capabilities, I know that above all you will be there for your community as minutemen - ready to serve your state and country when called upon."

This Governor's Day event also included a change of command ceremony, a monument dedication, a change of responsibility ceremony and an awards ceremony which included a Utah Cross award, a Distinguished Service Award, as well as Outstanding Soldier and Airman of the Year awards.

Herbert conducted the change of command ceremony as The Adjutant General of Utah, Maj. Gen. Brian L. Tarbet, who officially retires on October 1, relinquished command of the Utah National Guard to Maj. General Jefferson S. Burton.

Tarbet served 12 years as the TAG for the Utah National Guard and 39 years total in his military career.

"I take 12 years of memories with me," said Tarbet during a speech to the Guardsmen. "I have witnessed the great value of the citizen soldier, the minuteman, through your devotion, your dedication, your service. You are patriots all, the finest of your generation. We have approached a time in history when the Guard will be needed as never before. General Burton is the right man, at the right time and the right place to take you into that future. We have a wonderful new commanding general, and I'm very, very pleased with the hands we have been left in."

Burton commented on his role as the new TAG.

"When I heard cadence getting called this morning, I flashed back to the time I was a private in basic training," said Burton. "It's been my life for 31 years and I love it. There is nobody I would rather associate with and be with then the soldiers and the airmen, because they get the job done every day."

After the change of command ceremony, Herbert unveiled a rock and plaque monument in honor of Tarbet. The monument is located in front of the flag pole on the parade field. The plaque dedicates the parade field "to be officially hereafter known as Tarbet Field."

Tarbet stated he felt honored by the monument.

"Anytime you're associated in any way with soldiers, airmen, and marines it's a wonderful thing," explained Tarbet.

Burton then conducted a change of responsibility ceremony for the Utah National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader. Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce D. Summers relinquished responsibility of the Utah National Guard to Command Sgt. Maj. Michael M. Miller.

One state and one federal award were presented during the event. Staff Sgt. Edwin D. Malmgren from the 1st Battalion Field Artillery, was given the Utah Cross for performing life-saving techniques on November 27, 2011. Herbert presented Tarbet with the Distinguished Service Medal for exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility.

During the awards ceremony the official reviewing party presented awards to the Utah NG's Outstanding Performers of the Year. They include:

Soldier of the Year: Spc. Joshua A. Vazquez, 19th Special Forces Group
Army NCO of the Year: Sgt. Matt Pace, 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
Army First Sergeant of the Year: 1st Sgt. Todd M. Siebeneck, 197th Special Troops Company

Airman of the Year: Senior Airman Ainslee Lesley, 151st Logistics Readiness Squadron
ANG NCO of the Year: Staff Sgt. Jaime Phair, 169th Intelligence Squadron
ANG Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Gary Rihn, 151st Air Refueling Wing
ANG First Sergeant of the Year: Master Sgt. James Lock, 151st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron