After a 31 year career in the Utah National Guard, Summit County Manager Tom Fisher – who has also served as commander of the Utah Army National Guard’s Land Component Command - resigned from his military career last Saturday.
Tom Fisher started his military career with the Michigan National Guard as a second lieutenant with the Army ROTC in June 1990 as a way to pay for college. In return for the scholarship, he served an eight year obligation with the National Guard and while he could have called that good – he continued – even surpassing the typical 20-years of service...
“I'm a battalion commander and being recognized for that and got an opportunity to go to the U.S. Army War College and, and do that type of training for a year, get a master's degree in Strategic Studies, and it just that that made it more of an interesting time for me to stay in continue to serve” Fisher explained. “Become a brigade commander. Do more schooling and do more for the Utah National Guard, which then made me a candidate to be a general officer.
Fisher served a number of international deployments, including Kuwait and Iraq, and he wasn’t always in a safe location...
“This was after the first initial military push into Iraq,” he said, “and you know the deposing that government, we were the second wave of units that came in to do work there. I was part of an engineer headquarters, and we were doing everything from building police stations and hospitals. And our main activity was actually finishing the pavement of a highway between Kuwait and Baghdad. So, we were out, out and about a lot, amongst the population. And, and sometimes in ways that that were somewhat confrontational.”
Fisher has also been part of several domestic relief efforts after hurricanes Katrina and Rita as well as helping to re-establish major highways after the damaging floods in Colorado. This, he says, was much more rewarding work.
I'll tell you that the most the most amazing thing was, you know, after the devastation of a hurricane which you can only imagine, you know people are so thankful that they have the system in place that can provide some initial relief,” Fisher said. “I mean we can't do everything; you know it's not our job to do everything and it's certainly our job to hand over those reins turn it back over to local authorities as quickly as possible. But the outpouring of support of that population, just very appreciative of those efforts.”
In 2016, Fisher, who had earned the rank of Brigadier General assumed command of the Utah Army National Guard Land Component Command—where he was the commander of all of the Army units of the Utah National Guard.
His time in the military he says has been very rewarding mostly because of the people he’s met – people who are willing to serve and go above and beyond what is expected. He says he’s also grateful for his employers who over the years have been supportive of his service, including his predecessor as Summit County Manager, Bob Jasper.
“One of my best stories,” he said, “is Bob Jasper when he was my boss down in Mesa County, Colorado, and you know about three or four weeks after he hired me, I had to tell him that I, that the 2002 Olympics was going to require a lot of National Guardsmen, and I was one of them. And he was totally supportive, elected officials were totally supportive and we went through that process.”
With his military service complete, Fisher jokes that his full concentration will now be on Summit County, which, he says, not everyone may appreciate.