FORT DETRICK, Md. — After a deployment to Baghdad in Iraq, U.S. Army Colonel Robert Brutcher, a Lakewood, Ohio native, reaffirmed his Army career and long-term commitment to Warfighters as a Ph.D. (Physiology and Pharmacology), focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. Since he was already a pharmacist, he chose a non-traditional career path and it paid off. Critics may see an additional-doctoral degree as over the top, but Brutcher was promoted to colonel after serving 18 years, effective Oct. 1.
Returning from deployment, he turned his attention toward helping other service members fight the struggles and stigmas associated with mental illness and PTSD.
As the military deputy project manager for the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity (USAMMDA), he actively works to develop and deliver brain health medical solutions that aid in the prevention, detection, management and treatment of neuro-trauma, fatigue, and the psychological health of U.S. service members. As a forward thinker, his decisions have bought him more time in the Army, at least three more years and a promotion to the next rank.
“It’s not a mistake that he is here. He is definitely a force multiplier,” said Col. James “Andy” Nuce, USAMMDA’s commander. “USAMMDA develops and delivers quality drugs, vaccines, devices and other medical support equipment, while leveraging partnerships. He definitely gets to do that here.”
“We’re happy to have him on the team,” he said.
Brutcher credited his wife, children and family for his success. He thanked his wife and pointed out that Army spouse is the hardest job. He also thanked his children.
“It’s okay to be afraid,” he said to his three sons.
“Never let your fear stop you from being great,” Brutcher said. “I’m up here as a direct result of having been a part of some great teams.”
He also credited his colleagues for their hard work and dedication to mission.
“Because of some of my earlier experiences in the military and my connection with Soldiers and Warfighters,” he said. “I wanted to use my background and interests to give back to the military.”
He chose to study brain health because he wanted to help service members who might be struggling with mental health challenges, and high on his list is being involved with new, life-changing technology and treatments
“The best case scenario for me is to either be involved with the development or delivery of a new capability, a new technology, a new medication, or a treatment,” he said. “Something that ensures current military members as well as veterans have options when it comes to mental health.”
Being introspective and unassuming, Brutcher said everyone has their own unique skills, and he wanted to use his to best serve the Army. At the root of everything he does, he said, is a desire to serve and to help others.
“I’m a nerd 100 %,” he said. “I’ve never wanted anything less than an A.”
Putting book-sense aside, Brutcher said one of his greatest accomplishments is having the ability to help young service members achieve their goals.
“Rob is humble, but he is also one of the smartest people in the room,” said retired colonel Stephen Ford, the former chief of pharmacy at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and friend. “In addition to being an Army officer, Rob is also a husband and a father. He’s dedicated to Beth and his extended family.”
Ford said, despite setbacks, adversity and disappointments, Brutcher doesn’t quit or give up.
He said, “This is a proud day for Rob and his family.”