Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2004

A treasured position

Robertson Baldwin’s first female legion post commander

September 9, 2004

Archer Carlson is pretty sure Lisa Robertson is the first woman to join the American Legion Lloyd Beaton Post No. 228.

"We've never had any female member to my knowledge, at least none that I can remember," Carlson, a longtime legion member, said.

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But he knows for a fact Robertson is the first post commander in the history of the Baldwin legion.

"She should be commended for her efforts," he said. "She's been a member for several years and she wants to serve. She's interested in veterans' affairs, community service and child welfare. She does a very good job as post commander."

Carlson said the legion, which is open to anyone who served in the military during a time of conflict, has never excluded women. It's just that no woman had joined the local legion, that is, until Robertson became a member seven years ago.

She took over the yearlong position of post commander in June.

"I look at it as an honor for women and myself," she said. "It's a position that I really treasure as a female."

Robertson became involved in the military in 1979 when she joined the Navy.

"I kind of wanted to see the world," she said.

Upon enlisting, she went to air traffic control school in Tennessee and was later shipped to south Texas.

As an air traffic controller, Robertson said she had a number of responsibilities including flight planning, facility coordinating, ground control and flight data.

"Our job is to get planes to where they are going in a safe and timely fashion," she said.

After a number of years in active duty, Robertson, and her husband, Billy, whom she met in air traffic control school, joined the Naval Reserves.

Though she said the reserves was a big commitment, especially with a family, she was able to travel to places she would have otherwise never seen and gained valuable work experience.

"I've gotten to work in numerous control towers," she said. "I have qualifications at a lot of different towers and radar facilities all over the country. It was a really good experience."

Robertson had a combined 21 years of reserves and active duty before retiring.

"Now that I'm out, I miss it a great deal," she said.

Though she and her husband are no longer in the military, their son, Jarod, is continuing the family military tradition by currently serving in Iraq.

Robertson also stays connected to her military background in the legion. As post commander of the 120-member legion, she not only runs post meetings, she oversees legion committees, making sure they stay active and are prepared for the year. She also presides over Memorial Day and Veterans' Day services, as well as other special events.

"It's phenomenal the amount of things we're responsible for," she said.

Robertson also makes sure the legion, which is known as a service organization, remains active in the community, supporting veterans as well as promoting youth programs.

She said one of her goals as post commander is to continue the tradition of working within the community.

"I'd like to see us interact with the community more and more," she said, "because we're more than just a club-type organization. We're out there as a service organization."

Robertson would also like to see more women participate in Baldwin's American Legion.

"We're a small community, so I don't know how many female veterans are here," she said. "But with Desert Storm and the Iraq situation, there are more females going into service than ever before."

Though Robertson is currently Baldwin's only female legion member, Carlson said Robertson has proved to be a good one.

"She's done an excellent job," he said.

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