Veteran’s Day salute

From November 11, 2016

I failed to post this story on here in addition to its running in the Daily Eastern News on Veteran’s day 2016. It was an extreme honor to feature an outstanding service member who is impacting the lives of today’s youth in the classroom. Enjoy!

Soldiers learn to live by the seven core Army values as listed on the Army’s website.

It is these values-loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor and integrity – that have shaped Jack Robison, senior military science instructor, from a young age.

For him, living with these values started when he left his Weatherford, Okla., home in 1995 to begin what has now become a highly decorated career in the United States Army.

Four Bronze Stars (one for valor), three Meritorious Service Medals, a Purple Heart and numerous other awards later, Master Sgt. Robison is now serving his country from the classrooms of Eastern’s Klehm Hall.

Robison has had a career that has led infantryman from foreign countries such as Haiti, low-crawling through the Kentucky bluegrass and leaving the comforts of Colorado for the front lines of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, he is using those experiences and applying them to his role as an instructor in the ROTC program.

VETERANS_DAY_1
Master Sgt. Jack L. Robison teaches an Introduction to Critical Thinking class to ROTC Cadets in Klehm Hall on the campus of Eastern Illinois University Monday, Nov. 7.

“I feel like I’m best suited for something where you interact with people and mentor people,” he said.

After his first re-enlistment and assignment to Hawaii in 1997, Robison was promoted to a corporal at the age of 28, where he got his first taste of leadership. After being required to teach a class on the M9 9mm handgun to his entire battalion, he began to understand the role non-commissioned officers play.

“I didn’t really know all that much about the M9 9mm,” he said. “So, I had to dig in, research that. But I did a good enough job that I got noticed for it.”

The recognition continued to come as Robison climbed the ranks while serving in positions normally reserved for higher-ranking soldiers. After making staff sergeant, personnel shortages required him to step up into the role of platoon sergeant.

Shortly after Sept. 11, many young Americans witnessed the Twin Towers attacks and followed in Robison’s steps by joining the Army, he received his orders to Fort Jackson, South Carolina, to take on what he said may have been the toughest job in the military — being a drill sergeant.

The job requires 120-hour weeks instilling a general set of skills in a short amount of time to thousands of troops who passed through their own training.

After completing his duty as a drill sergeant, Robison again faced a tough challenge when he became platoon sergeant of Dog Company 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment in Fort Carson, Colo.

He had no combat experience, but he was on a platoon that already faced combat together. Robison knew he had to earn the respect of the platoon and build a foundation of cohesive teams to help prepare them for tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. To do this, he used the same principles he instills in Eastern ROTC cadets.

After being promoted to first sergeant, he began to work with newly commissioned lieutenants settling into their first duty assignments — an experience that proved valuable to his current position.

Robison works with Lieutenant Colonel Patricia McPhillips, and he said the two have a great opportunity in front of them.

“The number of people you could impact in the service is one of the most rewarding things for me,” he said. “The number of lives that you can touch. It’s kind of like having kids; you hope they’ll be better than you were and pass that along.”

Graduate student Makiya Thomas, in her third year of the program, said Robison reminds her to always put her best foot forward and be a leader at all times.

“Everybody is going to be watching me as an officer to lead from the front and not settle for less,” she said. “(Robison) is always pushing me to run harder to motivate my platoon, to always go the extra mile to be first.”

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Author: Justin L. Brown

Non-traditional college student.

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