Honoring a Career: Robinson Retires After Three Decades of Selfless Service

  • Published
  • By Michael Dukes
  • 315th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Col. John Robinson, 315th Airlift Wing commander, officially retired March 2 in a ceremony at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina, culminating over 30 years of dedicated service in uniform.

"I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have lived and worked alongside the finest Citizen Airmen in the world," Robinson expressed in his remarks at the ceremony's conclusion.

Retired Maj. Gen. Richard Kemble, who served alongside Robinson in the late 1990s in the 701st Airlift Squadron, recounted shared memories ranging from routine training to deployments during their time as veteran aviators.

"As commanders, we have no greater gift than to be able to lead and train our Airmen and ready them for combat or any other scenario, and John, you've done an outstanding job," Kemble remarked.

During the ceremony, Kemble presented Robinson with a Legion of Merit Medal, marking his third reception of the award. Robinson's wife, Alison, affixed a military retirement pin to her husband's lapel.

"Charleston has been such a special place for my family and me; Alison and I have enjoyed some of the best memories of our lives here," Robinson said. "The accomplishments you all have achieved have been nothing short of awesome. Our Team Charleston community partners are second to none and have been essential to our success."

Approximately 600 guests attended the ceremony, held in one of the nose dock hangars on the base, with a prominent backdrop featuring a C-17 Globemaster III adorned with Team Charleston engine covers and U.S., Air Force, and South Carolina flags on top.

Following the formal ceremony, a group of 701 AS members prepared over 100 pounds of pork and all the trimmings for the guests.

"It has truly been an honor and a privilege to have served with you, and I offer my most sincere thanks. Keep up the great work," Robinson concluded.

Robinson initiated his Air Force Reserve career in the summer of 2000, following active duty with the 437th Airlift Wing. At the 315 AW, Robinson served as a C-17 instructor pilot, tactics chief, deputy operations group commander, and operations group commander.

After holding command positions at both Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Robinson concluded his distinguished Reserve career back at the 315 AW, this time as the wing commander.

On the previous day, Robinson performed his fini-flight piloting a C-17 for a local mission. His adult children, Matthew and Elissa marshalled his jet into a parking spot after he landed.  Despite the raining weather, when Robinson stepped off the jet, he was met with the traditional fanfare of a cooler of ice water over his head, and a thorough dowsing with water sprayed by his family.

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