Friday, January 25, 2013

TOP STORY >> Colonel will be named general

Leader senior staff writer

Just a year after Col. Brian S. Robinson assumed command of the 19th Airlift Wing, President Barack Obama has nominated him for promotion to the rank of brigadier general.

Such nominations are made by the president after consultation with the secretary of defense, and must be confirmed by the Senate.

“I am truly honored to be nominated for promotion to brigadier general,” said Robinson. “This would not be possible without the support of my wonderful wife, Maureen, my family and the tremendous airmen I am privileged to serve with here at Team Little Rock.”

As host wing commander at the primary C-130 base in the world, Robinson is responsible for organizing, training and equipping the personnel who operate, maintain and sustain more than 90 C-130 aircraft.

The wing provides combat-ready forces to meet the combatant commanders’ requirements globally. He ensures support for combat, contingency, and humanitarian requirements while providing for the health and welfare of more than 12,000 personnel and families at Little Rock Air Force Base.

Typically, an Air Force commander at LRAFB serves for two years before rotating out to a new assignment. Although previously brigadier generals have commanded at the base, in recent years colonels have commanded. If Robinson is confirmed by the Senate, the actual promotion may not occur until his next posting. If the past is any indication, that would occur in about a year.

There is no information about either the timing or the nature of Robinson’s next assignment, according to Arlo Taylor, public information officer for the 19th Airlift Wing.

When Robinson assumed command from Col. Mike Minihan last January, he said, “I embrace the opportunity to serve and lead, and to ensure that the Black Knights and their families are adequately prepared to for the task ahead.

“We will continue to exercise our mission safely, effectively and professionally. with an eye on innovation, to be as efficient as operationally feasible and to face many challenges that are before us of us.”

At that ceremony, Minihan warned, “Smokey, every day of your command we’ll be in combat. Every hour, every minute, every second for the next two years, you will have somebody in harms way.

Lt. Gen. Mark F. Ramsay, commander of the 18th Air Force, spoke of Robinson’s success in southwest Asia.

“Smokey epitomizes combat airlift,” Ramsay said.

He started in C-130s and transitioned to the larger C-17 Loadmaster.

“Robinson literally wrote the book on combat tactics and deployment of the C-17,” Ramsay said. “He is the first weapons instructor course graduate in the history of C-17 to command a squadron.”

Robinson’s most noteworthy accomplishment was when his wing got the daunting task in 2003 of figuring out how to insert an entire aviation brigade — the 173rd of Italy — into Iraq. It had never been done before with the C-17s.

“The mission was textbook,” Ramsay said.

He was awarded the bronze star, pinned on by former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Before taking command at Little Rock, he was executive officer to Gen. Raymond Johns Jr., commander of Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base.

Robinson was previously assigned to the Pentagon and was vice commander at the 437th Airlift Wing at Charleston, S.C.

His operational assignments represent the full range of tactical and strategic airlift and aerial delivery, according to his official Air Force biography. He commanded an airlift squadron and a deployed expeditionary airlift squadron.

He also held staff assignments at Air Mobility Command, U.S. Central Command and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Robinson graduated from Philadelphia University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and received his commission after graduating from Air Force Officer Training School in December 1987 at Lackland AFB, Texas.

He has master’s degrees in military operational arts from Air University and in human-resource development from Webster University and a master’s degree in national resource strategy from National Defense University.

His career as a pilot began in 1989 after earning his pilot wings at Vance AFB, Okla., followed by a position as a T-38B instructor pilot.

Robinson is a command pilot and weapons officer with more than 4,300 hours in airlift and trainer aircraft.