552 ACW says goodbye to incredible leader

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Kinder L. Blacke
  • 552 Air Control Wing Public Affairs
On August 27, 2008 the 552nd Air Control Wing will say goodbye to their commander, who has successfully led them through the past 15 months of generating sorties, connecting airwaves, and controlling the airpower that is crucial to our national security.
Brig. Gen. Lori J. Robinson, commander, 552nd ACW, will relinquish command to Col. Patricia D. Hoffman, Deputy Director of Plans and Programs, Headquarters Air Combat Command, Langley Air Force Base, VA.
In addition to the excitement and anticipation of a new commander, General Robinson has made a lasting impact on the 552nd ACW.
Even before General Robinson arrived, Chief Master Sergeant James H. Foltz, command chief, 552nd ACW, was warned, "hold on, you're in for a ride!"
And quite a ride it has been. During her period of command, the wing achieved many significant accomplishments to include deploying for six combatant commanders and flying over two thousand sorties with over fifteen thousand hours on station; generating 116 sorties for over one thousand hours protecting our Commander in Chief over the U.S.; controlling over 138,505 combat sorties, supporting kinetic engagement and show of force; repairing 17 E-3 Sentries after hail damage in less than 72 hours with zero negative impact on the mission; and re-entering the Global War on Terror, re-establishing the AEF battle rhythm with spin-ups, deployments and reintegration.
Based on these and their countless other accomplishments, General Robinson's leadership led the 552nd ACW to great heights. "She brought nothing to the wing but positive," said Chief Foltz, "and it radiated throughout the entire wing."
"After 28 years of service, and 28 commanders, I have never seen any commander more positive and caring for their Airmen," Chief Foltz said.
This sentiment was echoed by Col. Joseph J. Rossacci, vice commander, 552nd ACW, "I admire her ability to see the best in all possible situations (...) she does not let negative things dominate; she focuses on the positive and what is in the realm of doable."
"It is truly rewarding and inspiring to work with General Robinson," said Col. Rossacci, "she is a leader's leader and gets straight to the point."
While her exceptional leadership is undeniable, she left an even greater impression on the hearts of the Airmen of the 552nd ACW.
"She truly devoted herself to her Airmen and made everyone feel like a part of the team she created," said Capt. Kristen D. Thompson, executive officer, 552nd ACW, "not only did she inspire me- but she inspired many others with her everyday demeanor, enthusiasm, kindness, and consideration."
General Robinson whole-heartedly believes in the first line of her vision statement, "the cornerstone of our success is always our Airmen."
She admitted that the best part of her job everyday is "going out to the flightline, into the operations squadrons, being on the jets, going to the air control squadrons, looking into the Airmen's eyes, and knowing that you're here for them."
"Everyday I am reminded of why I do this," General Robinson said, "I'm the luckiest person in the world to be taking care of more than five thousand Airmen and their families."
And according to Col. Rossacci, she takes excellent care of her personnel.
"She is completely devoted to her Airmen and the organization- an ultimate service before self attitude whereby her model leadership has influenced Airmen to be triumphant and be able to cope with challenges- fostering their growth and intellectual curiosity and reinvigorating their warrior mentality with her every decision, handshake, hug, or pat on the back," Col. Rossacci said.
One of the greatest testaments to General Robinson's commitment to the wing is conveyed in a letter that an Airman left anonymously on her windshield one day. The Airman remarked on the long hours that the general's car was in the parking lot and thanked her for her tireless dedication to her Airmen. It also lauded her leadership and ability to motivate and inspire.
"As a role model for all Airmen of the 552nd ACW, she was our ultimate wingman- a leader out in front to provide our vision and show us the right path, behind us to encourage our progress, beneath us to lift us up when times are tough, above us to watch over and protect us, and beside us to be our fellow servant in arms," said Capt. Thompson.
General Robinson has an obvious love and respect for the Airmen of the 552nd ACW and will be sad to leave as her time here comes to an end. In her final commander's call, she closed by saying, "I stand before you, humbled by all that you have accomplished, proud of what you will continue to do, and knowing that I am safe because of you."
Capt. Thompson speaks for many when she says, "General Robinson's attitude and leadership will leave a lasting imprint upon this wing and this community for years to come."