BY TOM BUSSELBERG
KAYSVILLE – Brian Tarbet was named as a deputy civil counsel in the Utah Attorney General’s office late Monday morning.
The Kaysville resident will serve under the direction of Attorney General Sean Reyes, who was named to the post by Gov. Herbert.
Tarbet was one of three finalists considered to fill the job vacated by John Swallow, who resigned Dec. 3. Since that time, Tarbet has been serving as interim attorney general.
Reyes will serve as attorney general through 2016. That is the original term to which Swallow was elected. Meanwhile, Tarbet and his wife Mary have lived in Kaysville for 38 years, and the Cache Valley native calls it “a great town with great people.”
He is no stranger to the AG’s office, having worked in the tax and revenue division from 1988 to 2000.
Tarbet returned to the AG’s office in January of this year, functioning as general counsel to the office.
In one of his “other” lives, he held the top position in the Utah Air National Guard. He was appointed to two six-year terms by the governor.
“It gives you some pretty good experience running some large organizations in pretty stressful times,” Tarbet said of his role there.
He commanded an organization that included about 7,500 part-time Air and Army Guard members, plus a full-time staff of about 1,100 employees.
It also meant overseeing a budget of $300 million and assets of about $2 billion, when you include aircraft and other equipment and buildings.
Tarbet started his relationship with the guard as what he called “a traditional guardsman.”
“I had a day job, did that on the weekend. I grew up in the intelligence (language) units,” he said.
Tarbet went into linguistic work out of college, using the German he’d learned serving an LDS mission.
That was from 1976 to 1996. After that, he took on a broader role, including non-artillary troop command, named as a full colonel.
Tarbet then was tapped as commanding general, a post he said was “an opportunity.”
“I kind’ve grin about this,” he said. “I already had the best job in state government. For 12 years, it was a great privilege.”
Tarbet has nothing but praise for the men and women he served with in the guard.
“They’ve demonstrated over the last decade, the true principle to the Minuteman, you’ve seen that over the last 12 years.
“They’ve done the great job, answered the calls every time we’ve been involved,” Tarbet said.
He’s basically seen the world as his men and women have: two war zones, Afghanistan and Iraq; throughout the Middle East; South Korea, the Philippines, and Japan.
“It’s really true the sun never sets on the Utah Air National Guard,” he said. “We just have so many linguist units, special force units, are in such high demand. We’re always somewhere in the world.”
He’s also been in Africa, South and Central America, and spent a lot of time in Europe, which was his area of responsibility during his linguistic assignment.
During his linguistic work a partnership was formed with the Kingdom of Morocco, making Utah the first state to work with a Muslim country.
“We have done a lot right here,” Tarbet emphasized. That ranges from helping with the Dec. 1, 2011 windstorm cleanup, to assisting with the myriad catastrophic events, from fires to other disasters.
Tarbet and his wife have five children, including one who is a Blackhawk Helicopter-assigned guardsman. They also have eight grandchildren.