Salute to Veterans with Mike Robbins, U.S. Air Force

  • Mike Robbins, Air Force, 1997-2009

Mike Robbins served as an Aircraft Communications and Navigations Systems Craftsman in the Air Force from 1997 to 2009. He started his career at Jefferson Lab in 2014 and now works as the Communications Office Tour Coordinator.

"There is no room for procrastination when you have to get a few planes ready for their missions on time," said Robbins. "Even now I usually jump into what I need to work on right away."


Q&A with Mike Robbins, U.S. Air Force 

What did you do for the military?
I was an Aircraft Communications and Navigations Systems Craftsman. Basically, I troubleshot and repaired any malfunctioning RADAR, radios and navigational equipment on various cargo aircraft to include C-130's, C-5's and C-17's.

What made you decide to join the military?
At the time, college wasn't really in my best interest. I completed two years but knew I wanted to do something different. My father and both grandfathers were all in the Army so you can say it was in my blood.

Why did you choose the branch of service that you did?
I actually chose the Air Force over the Army. My dad thought it would be the better branch for me to join plus having Langley AFB almost in my backyard, I was used to the jet noise already.

What was your favorite part of the job?
I had three really good duty stations but being able to spend four years at RAF Mildenhall in England was a great adventure which allowed me to not only deploy with the Air Force around Europe and Africa, but travel leisurely around Europe and the British Isles as well.

What was your most interesting/favorite deployment or duty station and why?
I would say the most interesting deployment was going to Dakar, Senegal. Growing up in the U.S., you take for granted what we have in this country. In Dakar, we took a bus every day from our hotel to the airport where our planes flew their missions. It is very eye opening to see in person what a third-world country is really like and how appreciative it is to be an American.

What skills did you develop that you use now after your military career?
I was always a "neat freak" even before the Air Force, but punctuality is a trait you really carry over with you after the military. There is no room for procrastination when you have to get a few planes ready for their missions on time. Even now, I usually jump into what I need to work on right away.

The regional home of Jefferson Lab, Hampton Roads, has a rich military history. Located in Southeastern Virginia, the region is currently home to more than 80,000 men and women in uniform, representing every branch of the armed forces. Throughout November 2018, Jefferson Lab is celebrating the region's military ties by highlighting some of our veteran employees who have served in the armed forces and who continue to serve their nation by supporting the research efforts carried out at the laboratory.


Jefferson Science Associates, LLC, a joint venture of the Southeastern Universities Research Association, Inc. and PAE Applied Technologies, manages and operates the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, or Jefferson Lab, for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science.DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit