PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania –
Lt. Gen. Brian Robinson, commander of Air Education and Training Command, returned to his high school alma mater, George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Jan. 16-17, 2024.
The visit was part of the Air Force Recruiting Service’s GO Inspire program, which encourages general officers to engage with students and influencers from underrepresented groups to inspire the future generation of Airmen and Guardians.
Robinson, part of the school’s first graduating class in 1983, met with more than 840 students and faculty during a series of assemblies with grades 7-12 from the school.
To maximize the opportunity to inform and relate with the young audience, Robinson was joined by his wife Maureen, in addition to representatives from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, Air Force Recruiting Service, Air Force Reserve Command, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 750, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Civil Air Patrol.
“I was raised by a single mother and I’m the oldest of three boys. I never thought in a million years I would be standing here 42 years later as a three-star general,” Robinson shared. “I'm just a kid from Germantown and Homer Street who dreamed of flying.”
Students seized the opportunity to ask Robinson and company about balancing work and life, traveling opportunities, and the distinctions between the officer and enlisted corps.
One student directed a question to U.S. Air Force Capt. Crystal Staszak, a KC-46 pilot assigned to the 305th Air Mobility Wing at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. She was asked if there was ever a time she was nervous about joining the military as a woman.
“I remember feeling anxious about joining,” Staszak shared. “However, I've had nothing but great experiences and a number of role models that have helped me along the way.”
George Washington Carver High School of Engineering and Science, historically dedicated to fostering STEM-related careers for academically motivated students, maintains a commitment to providing opportunities. With 61% of its students categorized as low-income and some relying on city transit, the school plays a pivotal role in shaping futures.
“It was impressive to see that the faculty and leadership still invest that much in students today…just as much as they did back then,” said Robinson. “It was remarkable to see how much the school has grown in its activities, offering the students a clearer path to a better life."
Before concluding his time with the students and faculty of his alma mater, Robinson returned to GWC High School the next day to hold multiple one-on-one sessions and an open group discussion on empowerment to pursue career goals.
“The opportunities I’ve been afforded are because I stepped in and made a difference in a lot of small and major ways.” Robinson added, “I wanted to show the students that it is possible.”
While in Philadelphia, Robinson and his wife Maureen also engaged with the cadets of Saint Joseph’s University’s AFROTC Detachment 750 to discuss expectations for active-duty life.
The next day, they included a stop at a local recruiting station, where the Robinsons expressed gratitude to recruiters for their hard work in shaping the next generation of Airmen and Guardians.
“It [GO Inspire] is worth doing, it’s worth pursuing. Even if you only get one or two students that join the Air Force or Space Force…that’s success,” Robinson said. “I am grateful for the opportunities I have been afforded by being a member of the world’s greatest Air Force. It was an honor to share my story with students from my alma mater and inspire the next generation.”