Mayor stays busy, handles forward operating base daily issues
May 20, 2010
- Mayor stays busy, handles forward operating base daily issues
FORT IRWIN, Calif., -- While walking around Forward Operating Base Warrior, on the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., Master Sgt. Kevin Robinson stops to answer his cell phone - it tends to ring often throughout the day.
After answering the phone, the person on the other end informs him a group of Soldiers are arriving at the FOB, which is nestled in the middle of the California desert base.
"I'm on the other side of the FOB," he tells the caller. The caller informs him the Soldiers would be arriving in about 15 minutes.
"OK, I'll be there," he said; then he hangs up and calls one of his Soldiers. "Print me out my speech and one of those new chapel schedules."
He then hustles across the FOB to brief the incoming Soldiers, about 300 from two National Guard units from Michigan and Illinois.
The briefing is part of his job as FOB Mayor.
So far, he has briefed almost every Soldier who has entered the FOB. In all, more than 5,400 Soldiers are present for the NTC rotation, mostly from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, based at Fort Hood, Texas. Other active-duty Army units, Air Force, Marines, Army National Guard and Army Reserve are also supporting the 3rd ACR. The 3rd ACR is scheduled to deploy to Iraq later this year.
As FOB Mayor, Robinson is responsible for maintaining everyday situations on the FOB while supervising a crew of 125 Soldiers. Robinson and the Soldiers make up the FOB's white cell.
The white cell's daily tasks include keeping the FOB clean by picking up trash, cleaning the five restrooms at least twice a day, guarding several FOB buildings, manning the ammunition supply point and maintaining 87 generators.
Robinson, a Louisville, Ky., native, was one of the first Soldiers to arrive on the FOB May 4. An advance party followed him on May 8, and the bulk of the regiment arrived May 13-18.
"This is a 24-hour deal," Robinson said about maintaining the FOB.
Robinson, the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear noncommissioned officer in charge for Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd ACR, starts his day by waking up at 4:30 a.m., and heading to gym around 5 a.m. His day ends between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m.
He holds a formation at 7 a.m., meets with his NCOs at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., attends a meeting at 5 p.m. and holds a close-out formation at 7 p.m.
Between the meetings, he walks the entire FOB at least four times. He looks for trash, walks through the sleep tents and spot checks the generators and the water stations.
"The longer you are in a place, (the more) you should improve that place," he said.
While the workday ends for most of his Soldiers after the 7 p.m. formation, Robinson's day continues. He tries to meet with the regimental command sergeant major and to perform other final wrap-ups before heading to sleep.
Before joining the 3rd ACR in January, Robinson spent 30 months as a first sergeant and held the position of battalion command sergeant major at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. He also spent three years as a drill sergeant.
At the FOB, the scope of his duties extends beyond maintaining the FOB. Instead of having someone drive 15 Soldiers to a driver's training class, he drove them himself.
"Call me when the class is over, and we'll come and get you," he told the Soldiers before heading back to the FOB. "Since I missed breakfast, I'm going to stop and get some coffee, but don't tell my wife. She'll want me to eat something."
His wife is also on FOB Warrior, but because of his busy schedule, they have rarely seen each other since the rotation started.
"We do not mix profession and personal. We'll see each other in crossing; we'll speak and when we have down time, we'll try to fit in five or ten minutes," said Sgt. 1st Class Lisa R. Robinson, the personnel noncommissioned officer in charge for 2nd Squadron, 3rd ACR.
Despite not seeing her husband very often, she knows it's for a good reason.
"(At first) I thought with him being in the chemical field, it would be a challenge for him, but he is great at multi-tasking, so I knew he would pull it off and be very successful at it," she said. "Based off people who don't know that was my husband, I hear them comment and they like what he's doing."
Spc. Rashaud White, Howitzer Battery, 3rd Squadron, 3rd ACR, an orderly room clerk in the white cell agrees.
"He says, 'don't let the job define who you are; you define who you are'," said White, a Memphis, Tenn., native. "He's one of the best NCOs I ever worked for. He listens and cares about Soldiers. He's the best at what he does."