Captain Gary (Yuri) Tabach was born in Moscow, USSR and lived there until 1976 when his family immigrated to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Upon graduation from Temple University School of Pharmacy in 1985, he was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy. Captain Tabach holds the distinction of being the first Soviet-born citizen to be commissioned an officer in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Captain Tabach’s Navy career is a highly distinguished one, serving a number of critical roles over the past two decades. In 1991, Captain Tabach was assigned to the Department of State as an Adviser to US Ambassador and Special Presidential Envoy to the former Soviet Union. His next role was in the US Embassy in Moscow as a member of the Prisoner of War – Missing in Action Commission. This organization searched for U.S. POWs and MIAs in the former Soviet Union. Captain Tabach then served as a Chief Military Information Officer for the United Nations Military Observer Mission in Georgia. His team successfully negotiated the hostage release of UNOMIG personnel.
Captain Tabach served as a chief in the Arms Control Implementation Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Almati, Kazakhstan. Throughout the 2000’s, Captain Tabach served as a Program Manager in the Defense Threat Reduction Office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and then as a Naval Affairs Officer, at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, Poland. Then, from 2006 to 2008, he acted as the first U.S. Deputy Director at the Defense Against Terrorism Center Of Excellence in Ankara, Turkey. There he led an international staff of 90 officers from 7 different NATO countries.
At the end of his esteemed career, Captain Tabach served as Chief of Staff for the NATO Military Liaison Mission in Moscow, Russia. There he acted as the liaison between NATO’s Military Committee and the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. He has since retired from the Navy in 2011.
Captain Tabach has accrued many personal awards throughout his career including: Defense Service Medal, Legion of Merit, four Joint Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, two Joint Commendation Medals, United Nations Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Meritorious Honor Award, Joint Achievement Medal and two Naval Achievement Medals.
- Russ Howell, the former Director of the American Russian Center, University of Alaska Anchorage.
RECORDED: Friday, February 17, 2017 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.