Military life rewarding, mission-driven
Robin Akin, retired Brigadier General and Director, Strategic Marketing, Elbit Systems, described her 32-year journey as a member of the military and her transition to the private sector after 32 years as a soldier.
“I am a member of the 1 percent of the 1 percent,” she said. “Only 1 percent of the nation’s population serves in the military and only 1 percent of the military are women. I’m proud to have been among the silent ones who keep America free,” she said.
She said the American military is now serving in 110 countries, more involvement than ever before, and is defending the nation with fewer personnel every year. Women serve in the military on many levels, working in “close fights” throughout the world. “It doesn’t matter who you are, the enemy will still shoot at you,” she explained.
In her three decades in the military, Akin served in five deployments over 20 years. She was dispatched to Haiti immediately after the earthquake that devastated that country where she handled delivering relief supplies to survivors. “I deployed to Haiti seven days after spending 15 months in Iraq and immediately following a medical procedure,” she said. “When there is a mission, soldiers respond. That’s what we signed up for.”
Akin worked closely with the local population and especially remembers a Haitian woman who came weekly to pick up a 100-pound bag of rice to help feed her family. Akin never knew her name, but she walked to the depot where food was distributed each week with her seven children in tow. Her husband was dead, and her home devastated. But, she was smiling.
“She said through a translator that she had never met an American before, but she would always remember me and the flag on my shoulder. She and I had a photo made together and a soldier painted it for me. I will always cherish the memory of this woman who survived because of the help we provided.”
Akin said she stayed in the military because of the Soldier’s Creed. “It doesn’t say male or female, it describes the job of a solider. I would add that I am a woman, a wife and mother, and 18th Airborne.”
In follow-up questions, Akin said she works closely with veterans’ organizations to help soldiers transitioning out of the military. “One in four women vets are living on the streets. Many of them have deployed more than once to war zones, but they have trouble transitioning to private life. Jobs are hard to come by, and I try to find resources for them. Dallas/Fort Worth is the number one destination for vets.”
A Soldier’s Creed
I am an American Soldier.
I am a warrior and a member of a team.
I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.
I will always place the mission first.
I will never accept defeat.
I will never quit.
I will never leave a fallen comrade.
I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.
I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.
I am an expert and I am a professional.
I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.
I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.
I am an American Soldier.