By Billy Blankenship, Air University Public Affairs
/ Published November 14, 2019
Colonel Christopher Bennett, Headquarters Air Force ROTC commander, presents the Air Force ROTC Distinguished Alumni Award to retired Gen. Lori Robinson during a ceremony at AFROTC Detachment 475, University of New Hampshire, Nov. 12, 2019. Robinson is the former commander of United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. A 1981 graduate of the university, Robinson received her commission through the detachment, serving 37 years before her retirement in July 2018. (Photo by Billy Blankenship)
Retired Gen. Lori Robinson speaks with cadets at Air Force ROTC Detachment 475, University of New Hampshire, Nov. 12, 2019. Robinson was at her alma mater and former detachment to receive the Air Force ROTC Distinguished Alumni Award, presented by the commander of Headquarters AFROTC. Her last assignment before retiring in July 2018 after serving 37 years was as commander United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command. (Photo by Billy Blankenship)
Headquarters Air Force ROTC at Air University inducted the former commander of United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command into its Distinguished Alumni Program during an induction ceremony at the University of New Hampshire, Nov. 12, 2019.
Retired Gen. Lori Robinson accepted the award at her alma mater, surrounded by cadets in her former unit, AFROTC Detachment 475.
“Those of you who are seniors and about to be second lieutenants, it’s not about a person or an icon, but when you raise your right hand and give the oath, it’s about the ideas that the Constitution brought to us,” she said. “I am humbled by this award and that the Air Force thought about me, a UNH cadet, but I’m more excited for you and what you’re about to experience in the world’s greatest Air Force.”
Robinson commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1981. She has served in multiple positions in her 37-year career, including as an air battle manager, instructor at and commander of the command and control division of the Air Force Fighter Weapons School and commander of Pacific Air Forces and Air Component Commander for U.S. Pacific Command. She has commanded an operations group, a training wing and an air control wing and deployed as vice commander of the 405th Air Expeditionary Wing in operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Addressing the nearly 80 cadets gathered at the ceremony, Robinson, who retired in July 2018, spoke about the importance of the Air Force family in their future careers.
“You have your personal family as your backstop, but you’re getting ready to have a much larger military family,” she said. “Your military family will take care of you through thick and thin. Your military family is going to be there on every mission to help you succeed in the things the national command authority has asked of you.”
Air Force ROTC Commander Col. Christopher Bennett officiated the ceremony and spoke about the general’s reputation amongst UNH alums and her influence in the Air Force.
“It just so happens, I was at a different university a few weeks ago and met a few UNH graduates who heard General Robinson speak a few years ago,” he said. “I told them I was coming to their alma mater for this ceremony, and their eyes just lit up and with huge smiles. ‘She’s one of ours,’ they said. The impact of General Robinson on her fellow alums and our Air Force is amazing.”
Robinson joins 14 others who have been inducted into the Air Force ROTC Distinguished Alumni Program. To be eligible for the honor, the nominee must have commissioned from AFROTC and either have attained the rank of lieutenant general or above and have been awarded the Silver Star Medal or higher precedence medal or attained a high level of honorable recognition or distinction for an accomplishment with Air Force-wide, national or international significance.
Previous inductees include former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper; former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard Myers; former CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden; and retired NASA flight director Gene Kranz.
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