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Robinson first female wing commander of Alabama Civil Air Patrol

A Chilton County native has been appointed as the first female wing commander of the Alabama Wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

Col. Lisa Robinson of Inverness assumed command of the wing Feb. 6 during a formal ceremony presided over by national and regional officers with Alabama CAP volunteers in attendance. The ceremony was held at the Wynfrey Hotel as the final event of the 2010 Wing Conference.

“I am thrilled to be able to make this historic accomplishment, but I’m more excited about the opportunities before us in the next four years,” said Robinson, a 1981 Chilton County High School graduate who works for the Baptist Health System as an application analyst.

Robinson’s path to success in the organization was not without its obstacles. In 1997, she wanted to serve her country in the U.S. Air Force and scored high on her officer qualification exam. But as Robinson neared her 35th birthday, her age precluded her from joining.

But that wasn’t enough for her to give up. She took flying lessons at the Shelby County Airport and earned her pilot’s license.

“I still wanted to do something with my license, so my husband suggested Civil Air Patrol,” she said. “I looked into it and joined a local squadron here in Birmingham and have been very active in it since then.”

As wing commander, Robinson is the corporate officer for Alabama, in charge of 21 squadrons and 1,000 members statewide. The Alabama Wing also has 14 single-engine Cessna aircraft. She also serves on the National Board of the Civil Air Patrol.

Robinson has completed the five levels of CAP’s professional development training, concluding with the Gill Robb Wilson Award in December 2007. This award recognizes officers who have dedicated themselves to leadership and personal development. It was first awarded in 1964 and honors the late Gill Robb Wilson, CAP’s founder and first executive officer.

Each level required Robinson to become more involved in CAP activities, master skills in one of 23 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 Imaging System (SDIS) operator, a mission observer, and mission information officer in addition to other ES qualifications.

She has received multiple awards, including an Exceptional Service Award, Meritorious Service Award, Commander’s Commendation with five bronze clasps, National Commander’s Commendation and the Yeager Award. Other awards were given for her excellence in service to the Alabama Wing and Civil Air Patrol.

Prior to her appointment as wing commander, she served as the Chief of Staff and Acting Vice Commander for the Alabama Wing.

The Civil Air Patrol, the official U. S. Air Force Auxiliary, is a civilian, volunteer, nonprofit, service organization. Its cadet program allows cadets ages 12-21 to learn leadership skills, aerospace education and physical training. There are about 400 cadets and 600 officers in Alabama alone.

“We try to instill in them a love for aviation and press upon them the importance of staying drug free,” Robinson said.

Robinson is the daughter of the late Howell Carter and Dot Carter of Clanton. She is married to James Carl Robinson of Verbena.

For more information about Civil Air Patrol, visit www.alwg.us or call 1-800-FLY-2338.