Today Gen. Lori J. Robinson of the Air Force became the first woman to head a top-tier U.S. war-fighting command when she took over the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command in Colorado. It is a historic moment that follows an already impressive, decorated career.
The daughter of a 30-year Air Force veteran, Robinson has served in the Air Force since 1982, when she joined the ROTC program at the University of New Hampshire. From there she went on to become an air battle manager and tactics chief as well as Air Force fellow at the Brookings Institute. She also notably served as commander of Pacific Air Forces, earning praise. According to retired Air Force Major General Darryll Wong, “You’re dealing with a lot of countries, a lot of the air forces in the Pacific, China being one of them. [Robinson] had to be a fast learner.”
Her fourth star came in 2014 as only one of two female four-star generals in the Air Force — the other being Ellen M. Pawlikowski, leader of the Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.