Tinker bids farewell to Col. Bob LaBrutta

  • Published
  • By Brandice J. O'Brien
  • Tinker Public Affairs
The new orders are in. Col. Bob LaBrutta will soon leave Tinker for MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., where he will become the director of Manpower and Personnel for the U.S. Central Command.

As his one-and-a-half-years at Tinker comes to an end, fellow commanders and directors said the 72nd Air Base Wing and Tinker installation commander's spirit, enthusiasm and support will be missed.

"Col. Bob LaBrutta is a great role model, motivator and leader," said Maj. Gen. Bruce Litchfield, Oklahoma City Air Logistics Center commander. "He has tackled some very tough problems during his tenure and has the wing performing at a new level. As a result of his demonstrated leadership, the Air Force has selected him for a high priority position in a combatant command. We only send our best, so that speaks volumes for his abilities. We wish the entire LaBrutta family the very best."

Col. Cedric George, 76th Maintenance Wing commander, agreed.

"We will miss Colonel LaBrutta's passion for the mission and strong desire to take care of Team Tinker," said Colonel George. "He and Leslie have set a new standard for mission execution in a resource-constrained environment. We wish them Godspeed as they transition to the next level of leadership and service to our nation."

Colonel LaBrutta arrived at Tinker in June 2010 from Langley Air Force Base, Va., where he served as the director of Manpower and Personnel at Air Combat Command Headquarters.

In his time here, the colonel said he's faced several challenges that forced difficult decisions, but through them, the air base wing has persevered.

"We've experienced some significant resource decrements since my arrival. Therefore, we've had to roll up our sleeves to figure out different courses of action to streamline our processes and eliminate non-value added programs and services we once offered," Col. LaBrutta said. "Unfortunately we've also had to let some very good and talented people go because we could no longer afford them on our rolls. However, I am extremely proud to report that despite the fiscal challenges, the 72nd Air Base Wing performed magnificently and carried out our very diverse mission in an outstanding manner."

The colonel said working on a large Air Force Materiel Command base with associate units from other commands has given him a different perspective, which he hopes has improved his leadership and management skills.

"I believe I'm not only a better officer, but a better person for having this opportunity," Colonel LaBrutta said.

Several Tinker leaders seconded that notion and appreciated the colonel's support in their groups and organizations.

Colonel Prentice said he's valued Colonel LaBrutta's guidance and support through deployments, inspections and resiliency support-requests.

"Colonel LaBrutta has advocated for our services, assisted in us reaching across the base to get patients in for care, and provided resources for us to complete the mission," Colonel Prentice said. "He has been a great advocate for the mission of the 72nd MDG and the care we provide to the entire Tinker community."

Col. Julie Boit, 72nd Mission Support Group commander, agreed.

"Colonel LaBrutta is an amazing leader with incredible energy -- he breeds enthusiasm and personifies the concept of leadership by example," she said. "His support to the 72nd Mission Support Group and the rest of Team Tinker has been phenomenal; Colonel LaBrutta will be sorely missed!"

Bob Sandlin, 72nd ABW director of Staff, said "It has been a sincere pleasure working with and for Colonel LaBrutta. He has been an outstanding commander, mentor and boss and has brought a new sense of energy that has been contagious in our command section and across the ABW. He also established superb relationships across the installation that have made our jobs in the ABW so much easier to do. Colonel LaBrutta and his family will be sincerely missed as they move on."

Gil Montoya, 448th Supply Chain Management Wing, and Col. John Rauch, 552nd Air Control Wing commander, said Colonel LaBrutta has been an excellent partner to their organizations.

"His energy and enthusiasm are contagious and it's been a pleasure working with him over the past year," Mr. Montoya said. "We wish him great success as he heads to MacDill AFB."

"During these tight fiscal times, it was good to have a partner that leaned forward," Colonel Rauch said. "The highlight over the last year was the successful, short-notice deployment of our Airmen for Operation Odyssey Dawn and Unified Protector."

Col. Mark Beierle, director of the OC-ALC Aerospace Sustainment Directorate, agreed.
"Colonel LaBrutta has been a high-energy, motivational leader here at Tinker," he said. "He brings his passion for service to every endeavor, and he has this special ability to connect across Team Tinker, from Airmen to generals, from civilians to contractors. The Aerospace Sustainment Directorate team thanks Colonel LaBrutta for his dynamic leadership and wishes the entire LaBrutta family the very best as they embark on their next assignment and adventure in Florida."

Colonel LaBrutta said he, too, will miss the people and spirit of Tinker.

"This has been the best job, and I've worked with the best people on the best team in my 30-year Air Force career," Colonel LaBrutta said. "I'm going to miss Tinker, our wonderful community partners and the incredible team of professionals I've served with very much."