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New leader takes reins at AETC

  • Published
  • Air Education and Training Command

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson took the reins of Air Education and Training Command from Lt. Gen. Brad Webb during a change of command ceremony here May 20.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. presided over the ceremony and emphasized the importance of the AETC mission to recruit, train and educate Airmen.

“It’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” Brown said, quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Our Air Force is not just about aircraft, it’s about Airmen, and they all start here. For the past 80 years, every Airman has started their journey with our First Command, Air Education and Training Command. I’m thankful for the professionalism, the capability and the competency of the Airmen at AETC.”

During his speech, Brown talked about Webb’s tenure at AETC and his outstanding leadership and strategic thinking during uncertain times, keeping the training pipelines open for production during the pandemic, setting the standard for the other military services.  He then highlighted Robinson’s service and his distinguished flying career, as well as his leadership across the Air Force, including strategic airlift and aerial delivery operations.

“Success requires leaders with a solid understanding of strategic imperatives, the ability to build teams and a vision toward action,” Brown said. “There’s simply no one more qualified and ready to take the reins of Air Education and Training Command."

“Recruiting, educating and training is a mission we cannot take lightly,” Brown said. “Our Airmen, are our asymmetric advantage against any competitor and Smokey (Robinson) will ensure we maintain this competitive advantage.  Throughout his career, he’s demonstrated himself to be a humble, approachable, incredible leader.”

Taking the podium and addressing his command for the first time, Robinson talked about how AETC is responsible for force development and how that affects Airmen across the Air Force.

“Our Airmen deserve and need the tools, techniques and cognitive ability and confidence to think, decide and act in increasingly challenging situations, in accordance with their commander's intent,” he said. “Airmen must be developed through experiences that build and help them understand that they are trusted, that they are empowered to maneuver, to gain and or maintain the advantage of all levels of warfare and phases of competition.” 

He said that AETC’s mission is foundational to the success of the Air Force, the Space Force and the national defense strategy and that AETC “will continue to take that responsibility seriously. Our Airmen’s capabilities, are going to be the critical difference to the joint force and the Air Force’s lethality and effectiveness.”

Prior to becoming the 35th commander in AETC’s history dating back to 1942, Robinson was deputy commander of Air Mobility Command, executing the air mobility mission in support of the Joint Force, allies and partners with a fleet of nearly 1,100 aircraft. He has held staff assignments at Joint Staff, Headquarters Air Force Staff, AMC, and the U.S. Air Forces Central 609th Air Operations Center. He has commanded at the squadron, wing, operational and global 618 AOC levels.

Robinson earned his bachelor of science degree in computer science from Philadelphia University in 1987. He received his commission from Air Force Officer Training School in 1987 and attended undergraduate pilot training, later serving as a T-38B first assignment instructor pilot before moving on to a series of operational assignments in the C-130 E/H/J and the C-17A, which represent the full range of tactical and strategic airlift and aerial delivery.

Robinson is a weapons officer and command pilot with more than 4,400 hours in airlift and trainer aircraft.

“Going forward, you can rest assured that at Air Education and Training Command, we will continue to drive toward nothing less than excellence and relevance in our mission and what we can do and will do for the United States Air Force,” Robinson said. 

AETC includes the Air Force Recruiting Service, two numbered air forces that oversee flying training and technical training, as well as Air University. The command operates more than 1,400 trainer, fighter and mobility aircraft at 23 wings and 10 installations. It trains more than 293,000 students per year with approximately 60,000 active-duty, Reserve, Guard, civilian and contractor personnel. 

Webb retires in June 2022 and has plans to stay in the San Antonio area.