Wing Staff Agencies Unsung Hero: Henry Laroche

TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Choosing a hero from such a diverse group like the Wing Staff Agencies can be difficult, yet the choice was made easy by the great work completed every day by the Drug Demand and Reduction program manager.

Henry Laroche, a retired senior master sergeant with more than 28 years of service, has been the program manager since 2009, and worked as the assistant manager for two years before that.

"As program manager, I have to assure 100 percent of the base population number is tested every fiscal year," said Laroche. "So if there are 3,700 people on base, we must test 3,700 people a year, making it a very demanding job."

"This program is the wing commander's program," said Laroche. "Everything we do here has to be defendable in court, so it is important we follow the regulations and ensure complete accuracy."

Although the job is demanding, it is also very rewarding.

"I really enjoy working with the augmentees, or personnel temporarily assigned to my office, because I love imparting knowledge on the younger troops," he said.

Laroche retired from Tyndall's own 325th Medical Group. During his time in the Air Force, he spent time in three different career fields.

"I started working in missiles, then I moved to working on the F-111 Aardvark," said the New Hampshire native. "After they retired the jet, I moved into medical administration."

Laroche has been married for 33 years to his wife Delia. They have two sons, Brandon and Andrew.

"I also like to spend a lot of time with my new granddaughter," he said.

When not with his family, Laroche spends a lot of his free time reading.

"I mostly read works of non-fiction," he said. "I read anything that I can learn something from. My favorite authors are Stephen Dubner, Steven Levitt and Malcom Gladwell."

As the only permeant party personnel for the Drug Demand and Reduction program, leadership recognizes his tireless efforts to keep the program running strong.

"Mr. Laroche has a very tough job," said Lt. Col. Gregory Pickette, 325th Fighter Wing director of staff. "When people are opted to be drug-tested and they report to his office, they are usually not in the best spirits. He still manages to keep a great attitude and do amazing work in spite of those conditions."