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Goodfellow | Inspiring women warriors to ‘be the best’

  • Published
  • By Sean Schroeder and Senior Airman Ethan Sherwood
  • 17th Training Wing Public Affairs

Women warriors from multiple branches of service stationed at Goodfellow Air Force Base had the privilege of meeting and interacting with retired Gen. Lori Robinson, former 17th Training Wing commander and first woman selected to lead a combined combatant command in 2016.

She and her husband, retired Maj. Gen. David Robinson, visited Goodfellow AFB, Sept. 16, 2022 in advance of the Air Force Ball, Sept. 17, at the McNease Convention Center in San Angelo.  

With her significant connection to Goodfellow and her historic career achievements, members of Goodfellow’s Air Force Ball committee felt compelled to invite Robinson to be the keynote speaker for the event.  She along with those in attendance came together to celebrate the momentous 75th anniversary of the Air Force.   

Robinson was stationed at Goodfellow in 2004 as the 17th TRW commander, overseeing the Department of Defense’s fire and intelligence training. She saw firsthand how much Goodfellow had changed and what improvements had been made in the past 17 years. 

“This installation meant a lot to David and me,” said Robinson. “It’s amazing to be here again, and we’re really appreciative of what you do.” She met with base leaders and listened to the challenges they face and connected with many of the squadron and group commanders as she was close friends with their mentors and leaders. 

Robinson also witnessed how the base had repurposed old facilities and built new ones to support the training mission. She saw the results of initiatives she started over 15 years ago. 

An important part of her visit was meeting with women warriors during her tour. At the Powell Event Center, she led an all-call for women where she answered questions from a packed audience and shared her experiences and wisdom gathered over her career. She also met with female officers during a mentorship session, gaining a greater understanding of the obstacles they face and how they have managed to overcome them. 

Robinson acknowledged that serving in the Air Force as a woman presented its share of challenges. She noted there were many times during her career when she was the only woman in a room full of other senior male leaders. Robinson revealed there were times when it was frustrating and difficult as some of her male counterparts would not fully accept or take her seriously.  

“It’s not about me, it’s about them, and I’m going to be try to be the best Airman I can be,” said Robinson. “If I made being a woman more important than anything else, then I wasn’t doing what was best for our institutions.” 

She noted that during her career, she constantly strived for excellence and took pride in being competent at her job. One of the things Robinson revealed that she did during her career was to provide accurate and timely intelligence to pilots performing combat missions. She recalled that one of the best compliments she received was when she was a captain: “When I go to war, I want Lori on the radio.’”

For those in attendance, hearing Robinson’s words made a positive impact.

“Being able to attend retired Gen. Robinson’s all-call was amazing,” said Master Sgt. Elizabeth Mann, commandant of Goodfellow’s Airman Leadership School. “As a female senior noncommissioned officer, hearing the challenges Gen. Robinson faced during her career as a woman in a male-dominated environment inspires confidence in my abilities as we develop the same types of future leaders within professional military education and across the Air Force.” 

During the all-call, Robinson acknowledged that the military has come a long way in its efforts to embrace diversity, but noted more work still needs to be done. She encouraged the women in attendance “to be the best, each and every day” and emphasized that we are all part of one unified team serving the nation.