Posted by Editor: FDBobko
July 21, 2022 
John Rutherford
 Mr. John Rutherford, U.S. Embassy Belgrade, Serbia, Covers Political-Military Affairs and Serbia’s regional relations.
Article by Joe Brennan
Photos by EJ Dieterle    
We were lucky to be able to schedule a talk by John Rutherford on his busy Home Leave between assignments. John is from Half Moon Bay, California, and attended Junipero Sera High School in San Mateo. He went on to complete undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis and graduate studies at Georgetown University. Between the two he served ias a Marine Corps F/A-18C pilot with Carrier Air Wing Nine and a White House Liaison Officer for the Secretary of the Navy before joining the Foreign Service, He is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.  
His foreign languages include Russian, Spanish, and Serbian. John and his wife Mara, who is the author of three published young adult fiction novels, have two sons, Jack (12) and Will (8). His proud mother Patti Rutherford lives in Half Moon Bay and is active in the Odd Fellows and their Grief Counseling group LOTUS (Life Opens Through Unexpected Sorrow).
John arrived at U.S. Embassy Belgrade, Serbia in 2018 and covers political-military affairs and Serbia’s regional relations.  John joined the Department of State in 2012, first serving as the political-economic section chief in Yekaterinburg, Russia before serving in Lima, Peru as a consular officer.  His onward assignment is the U.S. Mission to NATO in Brussels, Belgium.  
In the course of describing his work, we were amazed by many things but especially his assignment to the Visa Desk in Lima where a normal day involved speaking to 50 different parties (of one, two, three four or more individuals) about their visa applications. He also emphasized the importance of maintaining a call answering service so American Citizens could always call for help and be answered by a helpful voice speaking idiomatic US English. This is to deal with the day to day problems that arise with our traveling public such as lost passports*, medical emergencies, arrests and the like. John also emphasized the importance of the social role embassies play in the host country via open houses, orientation tours and classes etc. This is pursuant to their role of depicting and explaining what America is and who Americans are.
John very diplomatically answered our questions. He explained that there isn’t much change when the party in charge here changes because our face to the outer world doesn’t change nor does the need to support our citizens, business community and social/cultural organizations (NGOS).
He was asked for a carrier story as they generate so many. His was a sobering tale of a bad take off due to engine partially malfunctioning. He did not sink into the sea off the catapult but was able to limp around and gain enough elevation to come in on landing approach when a second and unrelated failure of his hydraulic system caused him to abort the landing, eject and ditch the aircraft. He acknowledged the good luck of the outcome for him but also described that it was something they always trained for and he just followed the learned order because there is not time to deliberate in close quarters in an F-18.
*Steve Wilson gave a testimonial to the efficiency of the service he received after his pass port was pinched out of his front pocket in the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.
And DIANNE BOBKO commented that due to Bo's responsibilities as an NASA Astronaut and since as a member of the Association of Space Explorers they have been hosted in different countries at the Ambassador's residence for receptions, dinners and other events.  They always considered it a privilege and met so many interesting Embassy staff.  He responded that those events were very important to the Embassy for many reasons.