Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Major Russell “Rusty” Custer
373d Training Squadron Commander, USAF
17 October 2006

Major Custer gave this eulogy at Rob's memorial service today.

I enjoyed working with Rob Brewer for a number of reasons. First, I don’t know where he got it from, but he had a very dry, very witty, very British sense of humor. Having served 8 years in the United Kingdom, I felt very much at home whenever I was around him. He lived on a street called Nottinghill; perhaps that has something to do with it. Wherever he got it from, he used his sense of humor with great effect & it carried us thru a lot of miserable days.

The second reason I enjoyed working with Rob so much was because of his candor. He was not the kind of man to sugarcoat anything. If your baby was ugly, he’d call it ugly. It didn’t matter who you were or what you did, the guy was a straight shooter. He certainly intimidated some, but not me. I counted on Rob to give me no-kidding answers & he never let me down.

Third, of course, was his expertise. Nobody knew the Field Training business better than Rob. He was our undisputed “expert of experts.” Indeed, we spent the better part of yesterday dividing up his workload and additional duties. As time went on, it quickly became apparent that the Air Force got a bargain when we hired Rob Brewer. Mr B was a walking encyclopedia and a workhorse. He made it look easy, but I can tell you, there are a lot of folks in my building who will be working some serious hours trying to stay on top of their newly-inherited duties. Losing someone of Rob’s caliber is painful far beyond words…I’ve heard it dozens of times over the past few days & you heard it just a few minutes ago…Rob Brewer is…quite simply…irreplaceable.

Perhaps the biggest reason I enjoyed working with Rob is because he had a big heart. As ugly and scary as the world can sometimes be, it’s good to know that we have talented, technically savvy people amongst us who aren’t afraid to stand up against what is wrong. Rob had a talent for computers and a passion for going after those who committed crimes while using them. When he wasn’t at work, Rob spent untold hours volunteering with an organization called “WiredSafety.org”…working tirelessly to help victims of cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying and or child pornography. Indeed, Rob personally tracked-down and nailed a lot of bad guys over the years. Yes, below his crusty, hard-nosed exterior was a soft, gooshy center. The guy had a heart of gold and made our world and cyberspace much safer, much more enjoyable places.

To Dianne, to his mother, brother, children and grandchildren, I want you to know that we, his Air Force family, viewed your husband… your dad…your grandfather as a very special man. We admired and respected him very deeply, and we’ll miss him more than words can say. Thank you so much for sharing him with us.

To the men & women of the 373d, to say that this has been a tough year would be a massive understatement. You’ve stayed the course throughout the string of tragedies and I’m tremendously, tremendously proud to serve as your commander. Many of you worked with Rob for a very long time…nearly two decades in some instances. I knew him for a mere year & I’m hurting…I can only imagine what you’re feeling. We’ll get through this. It won’t be easy, but we will.

Finally, to Rob… I can’t imagine there are any bad guys or cigarettes up there, so I don’t know what the heck you’re doing with all your free time now. Whatever it is, I know you’re doing it with your usual straight-shooting, mild-mannered style. So carry on my friend & we look forward to seeing you again on the other side!
Major Russell “Rusty” Custer
373d Training Squadron Commander, USAF
17 October 2006


Blogger abbee said...

I would like to give my condolances to the family of Rob. Also I would like to let you know, that he was a great inspiration to me and gave me a lot of courage. He wasn't one to say, get off the net or go somewhere else. He was a man with much understanding, who taught me to stand up against criminals and abusers online. He was always patient, very quick in recognising those who abuse and it's not always easy to do. He installed in me a lot of courage and faith.
I was very shocked to hear of his passing.
Your all in my thoughts.


12:29 AM  

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