News: 3d ESC Commander Dons First Star
Story by Sgt. Michael Behlin
FORT KNOX, Ky. – Col. Robin B. Akin, 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) commanding general, was promoted to brigadier general during a ceremony held at Texas A&M University on Friday, April 16.
Akin, the 3d ESC commander since Aug. 21, 2009, was pinned during a month and at a location which holds a special significance within her heart and Family.
"My father-in-law [Maj. Gen. (Ret.) George Akin] was promoted to brigadier general in April of 1995 just like I was," said Akin, a Nashville, Tenn., native and University of Tennessee graduate. "He graduated from Texas A&M University and now my son is a sophomore there in the Corps of Cadets. Texas A&M is like a center of gravity for my Family."
During the ceremony, which was attended by 51 Family members, Akin was pinned by and took the Commissioned Officer Oath of Office from Brig. Gen. Joseph Caravalho, Jr., commanding general of the Southern Regional Medical Command and Brooke Army Medical Center.
Akin, who credits her father-in-law as a major influence throughout her career, said he often motivated her to continue her active duty service. She said that out of the six colonels in her family, her father-in-law predicted she would be the one promoted to general.
"I'm not sure what he saw at the time, but he knew something," said Akin.
While waiting to be promoted, Akin admitted that she asked herself, "How did this happen?" How did a little girl from Tennessee make it to this point? Throughout her career, she often questioned whether she would still be in the Army, much less promoted to general.
"When I look in the mirror and see the star, I can't believe it's me," said Akin. "I'm still in awe on how I got here."
Now as a brigadier general, Akin said things will change for her, even though she commanded the 3d ESC as colonel promotable. She feels she can serve as an inspiration to others in their careers.
Throughout her life and career, Akin said she often found herself being the first female to complete whatever she did. For example, she was the first female to complete the Army's Jumpmaster School. The same could be said for her tenure at Fort Knox as the 3d ESC's commanding general. Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Rebecca S. Halstead was the units commanding general when it was known as the 3d Corps Support Command, but Akin is the first female commander since the unit transformed to an ESC in September 2007.
When looking back at her career, Akin admitted that she would not have been successful without the tutelage of "great noncommissioned officers and warrant officers along the way." The mentorship she received, along with lots of hard Soldiering, paved the way for Akin to be in the position she's in today.
As a result, she said she was able to develop many of the leadership qualities she possesses including a good attitude, patience and love of Family.
For those coming up through the ranks today, Akin advises to be patient and adaptive, regardless of rank. She emphasized the importance of having the ability to not reject those who make mistakes, but instead use the bad to show the good. This is important to Akin, as she said others often saw the good in her.