SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. — The Showcase Wing welcomed its newest commander July 1, and Col. Chris Robinson, along with his wife, Stephanie, both said they are excited to be part of Team Scott once again, focusing on its Airmen, families and mission sets.
They’re both natives from Charlotte, North Carolina, with “Stephanie grew up on one side of town while I grew up on the other,” said the commander. They met at age 14 and by the time they were 20, got married.
Stephanie explained how they met in junior high art class and went to different high schools but still stayed connected. When separate colleges just didn’t work for the lovebirds, she came back to Charlotte, and they tied the knot. Now, 23 years and four children later, including twin boys, they share the secrets of a happy union.
“He puts me first and I put him first,” she said. “We’ve put our relationship over our kids. Our marriage is the No. 1 thing in our house, but it gives our kids the stability that they need. They know that we’re a solid unit. He is incredibly selfless … and incredibly intentional. He never just hopes that things will turn out the way he wants them to. He takes steps to make sure things will.”
For instance, with their children, he doesn’t just hope they turn out to be good leaders. He gives them opportunities to practice leadership. They set standards in their house and he gives them the opportunity to meet those standards. He has a plan for everything he does.
Another example was after she had the twin boys and he was gone a lot since it was after 9/11.
She said she relied on her family and the unit who became very close, but she also always knew they were his priority. “We sort of were able to come up with a new normal. That’s very cliche right now, but we were able to figure out life and how we could do this,” she said.
He said that she understands the balance needed as the spouse of a wing commander that “you work weekends and nights” but she knows that if she needs him, he will be there for her, too. “She genuinely cares about people,” he added. “She’s very solid in her core beliefs and who she is. That’s why I trust her more than any human alive. I trust her more than I trust myself. That trust comes from the fact that she will tell me the truth every time. Some people tell you what you want to hear or some people have ulterior motives. I don’t ever have to worry about that with her.”
He added that “this is not a nine-to-five job. The things that the Air Force tells us to be balanced on are good things that you should always consider – fitness, family, work, personal life and hobbies. How am I going to fit those things in? What are my priorities? For instance, I love classic cars. However, my priority right now is sending my kids to good schools. So that money goes toward them and not a ‘67 Corvette.”
For some people, finding or creating balance can be difficult, so the commander had this advice—Give it a minute.
“Whatever you think is stressing you now and you believe it will never change, or that you can’t cope with it, give it a minute. People can get used to a lot of things. You will find workarounds and you will find solutions to problems. Whatever your challenge is right now and however bad it is, there are people who want to help you. There are resources that are available. There are people that really do care about you and if you just take a moment, take a breath, ask for some help, people will do it.”
He also advised Airmen to plan for the future but don’t fixate on it.
“Life will throw you curves. Whatever it is that you’re doing now, be the world’s best at it. A lot of times that actually will take care of the future. For instance, my sons run cross-country and one of them was getting down on himself about his run times. I said, ‘You are faster than everybody who sat on the couch today … and you can control your time by putting in the work.’ That’s what I mean by don’t fixate on the future. You should have a plan and look forward to the future, but be very focused on what you can do in the present, right now. That’s the control.”
Fostering balance, support and connections with spouses—both male and female—is something Stephanie said she would like to focus on.
“I feel like spouses have traditionally formed very tight bonds very quickly and that’s one of the ways we cope with this unique life that we live. That’s how we get through the unique set of challenges we have as military spouses. I just want to give spouses every opportunity they can to connect. I’m working with the Spouses Club, the Key Spouse group and the Airman and Family Readiness Center who offer all sorts of resources for spouses. For spouses who don’t want to do on base activities, our USO is starting Coffee Connections in the city. There’s all sorts of opportunities for spouses to get together and get to know each other. That’s important because what we do is unique.”
She also wants to encourage spouses to bloom where they are planted and focus on having positive, supporting attitudes for themselves and their families. For the commander, he wants to ensure the Airmen have the best training, education and resources needed for them to perform at their best.
“Our Airmen are outstanding,” he said. “We couldn’t be more excited to be here and our Airmen need to know that. They need to know that their leadership appreciates where we are and what organization we are in.