Final Salute: 20th AF bids farewell to Ms. Barb

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Nikita Thorpe
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

April 3, 2017, will be the first time since 1983 F.E. Warren Air Force Base will be without Barbara J. Lutz, affectionately known as “Ms. Barb.” Lutz, 20th Air Force executive assistant to the commander, will retire Mar. 31, after 43 years of distinguished federal civil service.

Many have shared that her absence will be poignantly felt throughout the Air Force, the base and the local community. Her reputation of kindness, personal perfection and professionalism has affected a wide-range of people.

“There is going to be a hole left in headquarters 20th AF,” said Michael Bryd, 20th AF historian. “It will equate to the loss of the general, the vice and the chief.”

During her years working on base, Lutz has been a part of various mission sets such as maintenance, logistics and protocol. She enriched the 90th Missile Wing as executive secretary to the deputy commander of maintenance/logistic group. Exposed to and obtaining knowledge on nearly every function on base, Lutz is a continuity and expertise asset.

Lutz has been described by friends and co-workers as kind, cheerful and always humble. These attributes, although not required for the work place, have caused people to be drawn to her and reach for her advice.

The 90th Missile Wing Inspector General, Barry Kistler, shared that in order to understand her value and appreciate her contribution, you had to know her personally.

Lutz’s personality of gratitude and kindness inspires her to go outside of her position description and meet the needs of others. She expressed how others have helped so much in her development, and she wanted to give back.

“I love people, I love my work, I love the Air Force, I love life, and life is a journey,” Lutz said. “You make these friends and commitments along the way, and it molds you into who you are. I’m blessed- I feel like I’ve been given so much, and I feel like I need to give more.”

Lutz excelled and added her personal flair to tasks, using her knowledge, talents and skills to accomplish the mission.

“She is so artistically talented, and she puts her touch on all the protocol-type things like commanders’ receptions,” said Paula Taylor, 90th MW museum director. “She enjoyed hand-making invitations, providing breakfast at commanders’ meetings and stocking the 20th AF break room with freshly baked goods. Everything was always done with her touch.”

Her unique style and ability garnered her the 20th AF Civilian of the Year Category II award in 2009 and again in 2012.

On F.E. Warren, Lutz’s name is synonymous with words like leader, dedication and perfection.

“Perfection is her standard,” Kistler said. “There is no limit to the hours she will stay late to make sure something has absolutely no mistakes, and it’s ready to go to the next level. She withstands a considerable amount of stress to uphold her dedication, professionalism and her perfection.”

Serving as the sole protocol advisor, she served distinguished visitors from top Air Force leadership, governors, mayors, and numerous community leaders.

Lutz’s extreme competency gained her the job of 20th AF commander’s executive secretarial position while she simultaneously filled the essential role of protocol specialist for the commander and headquarters staff.

“In my 34 years of service, I never met anyone who had more devotion to duty, more skill at their job, who was quicker on their feet or had more grace than Barb Lutz,” said retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Don Alston, former 20th AF commander.

Filling these two positions presented the opportunity to collaborate and lead different people and agencies. Paula Taylor commented on Lutz being drawn to leadership opportunities. She was always the first person to stand up and volunteer her services and guidance.

Thomas Pachniak, 90th MW Civil Engineer Squadron repairs element chief, also remarked on Lutz’s leadership specifically as it relates to Cheyenne Frontier Days. She finds joy in lending a hand to everyone. Whether that meant grabbing a broom, paint brush or serving food, Barb did whatever was needed.

Lutz’s positive attitude and ability to excel at numerous key positions has left her mark on F.E. Warren and contributed to her successful Air Force career.

As Lutz’s civil service comes to an end, the appreciation for all that she has contributed is felt by the people of F.E. Warren and the community.

"Barb touched the lives of countless Airmen, and she made us the strong 20th Air Force family we are today," said Maj. Gen. Anthony Cotton, 20th Air Force and Task Force 214 commander. "Her absence will be felt by everyone; but her generosity, courageousness, selflessness and dedication have left a mark on us all."