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111th ATKW chief, role-model bids farewell to ANG after 22-year career

Two figures in profile, Col. reaching across to pin medal on Chief Master Sgt. against a curtain backdrop.

Col. John O’Brien, 111th Attack Wing Operations Group commander, pins a retirement medal on Chief Master Sgt. Robert, 111th Attack Wing Operations Group superintendent, during his retirement ceremony on Feb. 9, 2019 at the main auditorium at Horsham Air Guard Station. Robert was very instrumental in spearheading the MQ-9 Reaper remotely-piloted mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Timi Jones)

HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- HORSHAM AIR GUARD STATION, Pa. -- Since added to the Air Force enlisted rank almost 60 years ago, only 1 percent of enlisted Airmen achieve the honor of donning all eight stripes of chief master sergeant.

The elite few who are chosen, are chosen carefully. They embody leadership and are considered trustworthy to pilot and protect ranks below them.

Chief Master Sgt. Robert, 111th Attack Wing Operations Group superintendent, retired from military service here, Feb. 9 after 22 years in the Air Force. Of those 22 years, he served three in the distinguished rank.

As Chief, one of his most notable accomplishments was building up the MQ-9 Reaper remotely-piloted aircraft mission from 10 to a few hundred members, said Capt. Phil, 111th ATKW OG instructor pilot.

As one of the first two non-commissioned officers in the mission, Robert set the tone for the unit.

“He flew the very first sortie and started our history with the MQ-9 mission,” said Col. John O’Brien, 111th ATKW OG commander. “He demonstrated professionalism and tactical proficiency from that first sortie until his last.”

The chief master sergeant was regarded as not only technically skilled, but also as a superior exemplification of Airmanship

“[Robert] is one of the most inspirational leader I have ever worked with,” said Tech. Sgt. Tim, 111th ATKW OG sensor operator. “He singly helped me become the sensor operator I am today, and I wouldn’t have graduated weapons school without his intricate leadership.”

According to his peers, Robert is more than deserving of being among the top 1 percent.

Robert is able to influence his Airmen because he believes in being a “visible leader” and regularly interacting with them. He feels when those of lower rank see they are valued not only as employees, but as humans, they are more inclined to show up and be their best every day.

“He is the epitome of what a sensor operator should be,” said Phil. “He also calmed new pilots through challenging situations and put them at ease.”