Family is my foundation. Early in my marriage, my husband was active-duty Air Force. We were stationed in Hawaii, and they were getting ready to move us—him to Korea and me to Japan. With kids, we just wouldn’t be able to do it. I said to him, “David, I’ll get out. I’m an air-battle manager, I’ll be lucky if I’m a colonel. I’ll never be a general. You’re a Thunderbird pilot. You promoted early. You’ll be the general.” He goes, “And what would you do if you got out?” And I was like, “Well, I don’t know.” He goes, “Lori, I can go into the reserves, and I can go fly for the airlines.” We never looked back. My husband was incredible. His constant love, devotion and support allowed me to move up in the ranks.
I’ve been privileged to be the first at many things. I’m a general, a commander, an airman. And I happen to be a woman. When I put the fact of being a woman as more important than the institution, then I’ve done a disservice to the institution. But I realize I’m a role model. I was in the Pentagon soon after I began working for the Secretary of the Air Force and the chief of staff of the Air Force, and people I didn’t know said to me, “Congratulations. We’ve been cheering on the sidelines.” All women. I had no idea. When I walk onto bases, a ton of folks come to me and say, “Ma’am, this is so awesome.”
In 2016, Robinson became the highest-ranking woman in U.S. military history as leader of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command.