Maj. Gen. LaBrutta bids farewell to Airmen of 2nd Air Force

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

After a year in the position, Maj. Gen. Bob LaBrutta will relinquish command of 2nd Air Force on Aug. 23 to Maj. Gen. Timothy Leahy during a change of command ceremony at the Levitow training facility.

Maj. Gen. LaBrutta and his spouse, Leslie, will move to Washington D.C. where he will serve as the Director, Military Force Management Policy, Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower, Personnel and Services.

Although he was only at 2nd AF for a brief time, Gen. LaBrutta hit the ground running and left a lasting mark on the command and the Airmen of 2nd Air Force.

“Fortunately for me, I inherited a great senior leadership team when I came in, and I am going tell you, those leaders and this mission absolutely blew me away,” LaBrutta said. “Especially during my immersions, everyone from the senior leaders down to the military training instructors, military training leaders, and technical training instructors – all of them are hitting grand slam home runs!”

Not one to settle for the status quo, LaBrutta and his command team quickly drafted a strategic document that would guide his next year in command and propel 2nd AF and his Airmen to achieve their AF mission to train, develop, and inspire the world’s premier Airmen to power the world’s greatest Air Force!

“I didn’t accomplish anything,” LaBrutta said earnestly. “What I did is set a vision and a direction and provide some leadership and get the tools and resources my commanders needed to execute the mission. And through that, I hope that the culture created was such that every professional in 2nd AF felt compelled to go out and lead, and take some risk, and they delivered in a big way.”

Over the last year, the Airmen of 2nd AF took his direction and made drastic changes to policies and programs in the command. One of the most notable and visible changes was the policy to allow staff sergeants with two years’ time in grade to assume the role of military training instructor again.

In addition to that big win, the phase program at the Air Force’s technical training schools was reinstated, providing MTLs more leadership tools to professionally develop their Airmen. In basic military training at JBSA-Lackland, Texas, the physical fitness test required to graduate was brought in line with what Airmen in the operational Air Force are required to accomplish.

Additionally, as Airmen transition from BMT into their technical training pipelines, they will encounter what 2nd Air Force calls the ‘classroom of the future.’ It is a blended learning environment that leverages current technology used in commercial and collegiate learning environments and modifies the 1950s/60s classroom design to a modern style that’s more conducive to the way our Airmen learn today!

The analysis shows that changing our classroom configurations has a direct, positive impact on retention and testing on the material administered. And, oh by the way, the instructors that get to teach in that environment are just as fired up.”

Gen. LaBrutta has seen this excitement in person because he believes that getting out and meeting the Airmen and talking to commanders is the best way to gauge the health of his command.

“It’s the people,” LaBrutta said. “It’s getting out there. You know, being here in my office behind the desk, that’s not what it’s all about … It’s about getting out there, finding out what our professionals need to be able to execute their mission, then aggressively going after it to the best of my abilities.”

He explained that he understands what it is like to be that technical school Airman going through training here, because nearly 36 years ago, he was that Airman.

Gen. LaBrutta explained, “When I came to Keesler as an Admin Tech in October of ’81, I tacked on my first two stripes because I had 45 hours of college credit. Then I made the transition through AFROTC, became a second lieutenant and I came back to Keesler as a personnel officer. Both of those experiences are what I reflect on when I have to make difficult but necessary decisions at this level. I never forget that Airman 1st Class LaBrutta or 2nd Lt. LaBrutta are at the end of that decision.”

Fast forward to today, and LaBrutta now oversees the same training that he attended as a newly enlisted Airmen.

“I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be wearing two stars at the same place that I put on my first two stripes,” LaBrutta said with a smile. “This experience has been unbelievable, and I am so proud and honored to have had the opportunity. I thank Lt. Gen. [Daryl] Roberson for selecting me for this command because this year has been the most incredible year of my career.”

Gen. LaBrutta attributes all of 2nd AF’s success to the professionals in the command who are executing the mission and he expressed his gratitude for their service.

“I just want to say thank you to everyone who is involved in this enterprise,” LaBrutta said. “Every Airman who is in training, or those who are conducting the training, needs to understand how critically important they are to the United States Air Force. We have a motto in 2nd Air Force … that we’re second to none … but the only reason we are second to none is because the awesome, professional Airmen who are executing their missions at premier levels every single day.”