Base commander for a day at Laughlin AFB

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Kailee Reynolds
  • 47th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

In the realm of Air Force excellence, air dominance and mission success, few roles carry the same weight of responsibility as that of an Air Force base commander. These leaders are entrusted with the safety, strategic operations, and  well-being of their units and personnel.

While many would be intimidated by the thought of a role like that, Ms. Carla Robles, current JROTC cadet and future Airman, stepped up to take on the mantle of Col. Kevin Davidson, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, as the base commander for a day at Laughlin Air Force Base on June 7, 2023.

Carla Robles is a local Career and Technical Education (CTE) aircraft maintenance program ambassador, Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadet and recent Del Rio High School graduate, who has dedicated herself to developing her leadership skills and enabling the success of others.

“I’ve wanted to be a part of the Air Force since I was 12 years old,” said Robles. “My goal has always been to be an awesome leader and do the best that I can to lead other people to greatness. Being able to shadow a leader of leaders today is a great opportunity for me to learn how to help others.”

Davidson invited Robles to Laughlin, granting her the unique opportunity to shadow him throughout his day and experience the dynamic responsibilities and operations expected in her future endeavors of becoming an Airman and leader.

Throughout the day, Robles gained insight into strategic decision-making, personnel management, and the execution of critical missions under the guidance of Davidson.

“This visit has been completely different from what I expected,” said Robles. “It is a lot more behind-the-scenes work where you talk about what is going on around base, what is going to happen in the future; lots of planning ahead and seeing other people’s opinions and perspectives on things and working together to make final decisions.”

Robles sat in multiple meetings with Davidson and other 47th FTW leaders to discuss the many responsibilities of ensuring mission success and Airmen’s professional development.

Robles also had the opportunity to interact with servicemembers from various squadrons.

She presented the Laughlin “Xler of the Week” award to Senior Airman Brody Shain, 47th Healthcare Operations Squadron medical logistics technician, experienced a T-6A Texan II flight simulator to get a first-hand glimpse into what Laughlin’s student pilots’ training consists of and finally visited the flight line to observe the daily operations.

Throughout the day, Davidson gave Robles substantial advice and insight into the purpose of their meetings and events, what being a good commander and teammate looks like, and tips on working toward being the best leader.

“This unique opportunity serves as a powerful reminder that building leaders now is paramount in forging a path towards a future Air Force that is ready to meet any challenge; capable of protecting our nation’s interests and upholding the legacy of integrity and excellence that defines us,” said Davidson. “The investment we make in the development of our personnel today lays the foundation for the success of our Air Force for generations to come.”

From overseeing critical operations to engaging with dedicated servicemen and women, Robles was able to see what her future in the Air Force could look like.

“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from today’s visit as a leader in the Air Force is to take a step back and just take it all in,” said Robles. “Make sure you get points of view from the people around you to make sure that everyone is doing okay and that everyone is on the same page to get the mission complete.”