Middle River, MD --
U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Jori Robinson is not the typical wing commander: Non-rated with an intelligence and cyber background. But since taking command of the 175th Wing in January as the first female and the first non-rated wing commander in Maryland Air National Guard history, Robinson has already demonstrated that her unique path to the position is a strength and will enhance the mission of the MDANG.
While the wing continues to evolve and grow, it does not mean the core missions will change.
“We’re still going to fly A-10s,” said Robinson, who began her military career in intel at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. “We're still going to fight for our next fighter mission. We’re still going to do cyber ops, we’re still going to do intel ops, we’re still going to do all the domestic operations that we do.”
Her unique background makes her well-suited to lead one of the few bases in the entire Air National Guard that operates in two different domains – air and cyber. Robinson and her team are working to combine those domains to maximize the output so that if/when something happens, the MDANG is prepared.
“My absolute number one goal is readiness, and to make sure we're ready for tomorrow's fight,” said Robinson. “The one thing I've been harping on for the month and a half or so since I've been in the seat is readiness, but not the readiness that we've been doing. Readiness for a near-peer competition.”
It will be shifting away from the readiness mindset of fighting insurgents to facing off against a military force with equal competencies and technological capabilities, according to Robinson. It’s also ensuring that her Airmen are physically, mentally, and psychologically ready.
Robinson stressed the wrap-around assistance now available for Airmen to maintain their resiliency and edge. The past two years of almost constant activation domestically and overseas have taken a toll on the guardsmen and their families, but there are wing resources available.
“We have an outstanding Airmen Care Team. I mean, they are just incredible, and really going out of their way to make sure that the Airmen know they're always there for them,” said Robinson. “Whether it's through religious help with our chaplain corps, family help, or through mental wellness, and financial wellness as well. Those four individuals that run the Airman Care Team go out of their way every single day to do that.”
She wants her Airmen to know what they're doing makes a difference and that what they do matters. It is integral for wing leaders to make sure their Airmen are okay and getting the much-needed downtime so they are ready the next time they are needed to support missions at home or overseas, said Robinson.
As the MDANG just celebrated its first centennial last June, Robinson is focused on how to stay ready, effective, and lethal for the next 100 years. As a baseball fan, Robinson’s philosophy to pursue excellence while adapting and innovating comes from pitching.
“Home plate doesn’t move. I just throw strikes,” said Robinson quoting Leroy Robert "Satchel" Paige, who played baseball in the Negro league and Major League Baseball. “We're just going to go out and throw strikes, and we're going to continue to be the best at whatever our core competency is."