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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Alabama Civil Air Patrol getting its first female commander

The Civil Air Patrol in Alabama will soon have its first female commander.

Lt. Col. Lisa Robinson, of Birmingham, has been selected as the Wing Commander-elect for the Alabama Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

The Change of Command Ceremony will be held at the Wing Conference in Birmingham, February 6-7, 2010. Col. Michael Oakman, current wing commander also of Birmingham, will relinquish command to her in a formal ceremony presided over by national and regional officers with Alabama CAP volunteers in attendance.

Robinson has completed the five levels of senior member training, concluding with the Gill Robb Wilson Award in December, 2007. This award recognizes those senior members who have dedicated themselves to leadership and personal development in Civil Air Patrol. It was first awarded in 1964 and honors the late Gill Robb Wilson, the founder of Civil Air Patrol and its first executive Officer.

Each level required Robinson to become more involved in CAP activities, master skills in one of twenty-three technical areas and develop leadership ability.

She has a Master Rating in Flight Operations and Cadet Programs, as well as a senior rating in Public Affairs. A private pilot, she is also a Satellite-Transmitted Digital Imagining System (SDIS) operator, a Mission Observer, and Mission Information Officer in addition to other ES qualifications.

She has multiple Civil Air Patrol awards, including an Exceptional Service Award, Commander’s Commendation with three Bronze Clasps, and the Yeager Award. Other awards were given for her excellence in service to the Alabama Wing and Civil Air Patrol.

Robinson is currently the Chief of Staff and Acting Vice Commander for the Alabama Wing. She has held commander, deputy commander for seniors at Alabama’s 117th CAP Squadron in Birmingham. She completed the National Staff College at Maxwell AFB in 2007.

Robinson is employed by the Baptist Health System in Birmingham as an application analyst, providing 24 hour support for the Radiology Management System, networked to seven facilities. She earned an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Radiological Technology with honors from Jefferson State Jr. College, a Bachelor Science in Allied Health and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Alabama in Birmingham.

Civil Air Patrol, the official auxiliary of the U.S. Air Force, is a nonprofit organization with 900 members in the state. CAP, in its Air Force auxiliary role, performs 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC). Alabama CAP was credited with 51 finds and 7 saves during FY2008. Its volunteers also perform homeland security, disaster relief and counter-drug missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. The members play a leading role in aerospace education and serve as mentors to more than 250 young people currently participating in Alabama cadet programs.


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I grew up in the military. Mom was an Air Force nurse for a few years, dad was a navigator on B-52s, among other things. One grandfather served in World War II, uncle is retired Navy, other grandfather and great-uncle served in Korea and a cousin is currently serving in the Marine Corps. Currently, I'm the military reporter for the Great Falls Tribune in Montana. Previously, 

As a military kids, we moved all over. As an adult, I've traveled all over and moved for work. But now, I'm putting down roots in Montana with my boyfriend. We just bought a house and are slowly but surely making it our home. We have more land that we know what to do with at the moment. Now we're getting a garden started, tearing down walls and having loads of fun at what we call the Homestead.

In a part life, I did PR for the guy who built the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall, social media for the National Museum of Health and Medicine, before that, edited two military technology magazines for a publishing group in the DC area and before that, I was the military reporter (among other things) at the Montgomery Advertiser, covering Maxwell Air Force Base, the Alabama National Guard, veterans and anything else military related in the area. And in between all of that, I leave town, preferably the country, whenever possible. It all started when I spent a semester in New Zealand.

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