OCTOBER 5, 2016, WASHINGTON (NNS) – President Harry S. Truman once stated, “Progress occurs when courageous skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” It’s difficult to say “Red Rumble”, Vice Adm. Robin R. Braun’s father-a career naval aviator-planned on changing the Navy Reserve for the better; but that’s exactly what he did when he encouraged the young Northern Arizona University graduate to apply for the Naval Aviation program that had just opened admission for women in the mid-70s.
After receiving her wings of gold in 1981, Braun served in multiple squadrons as an instructor pilot, mission commander, and aircraft commander. In the Navy Reserve she became the first female commanding officer of a Reserve squadron. The Navy rewarded her leadership talents with each job she accomplished and, after congressional approval, she was ultimately promoted to vice admiral, the highest rank in the Reserve. It was the crowning stamp of approval on her career; the Navy entrusted her to be the 13th chief of Navy Reserve (CNR). As commander, Navy Reserve Force, she led approximately 60,000 reserve component personnel who support the Navy, Marine Corps, and Joint Force.
“While being promoted is certainly an achievement, I’ve always thought that if my service inspired others, then that would be a great thing. That’s what I would hope for,” said Braun. She oversaw the utilization of the reserve component as both an operational and strategic force. During her tour, over 10,000 Reserve Sailors were mobilized around the globe as individual augmentees (IA) or with their units.
The threat of terrorism became an unfortunate reality for the Navy Reserve July 16, 2015, when a Reserve Sailor and four Marines were killed while on duty in Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a result, the Navy Reserve Force implemented an Armed Watchstander Program at Off-installation Navy Operations Support Centers (NOSCs). Responding to her leadership and guidance the Navy Reserve quickly instituted a heightened force protection posture with added security to ensure the safety of all Reserve personnel.
Always leaning forward to improve Sailor readiness, she led her team in launching two state of the art initiatives known as the Ready-2-Serve (R2S) mobile app and Reserve Cloud Connect (RC2). These improvements give Citizen Sailors easier access to the programs and information they need to be mission ready. While launching these capabilities to the Reserve Force, Braun encouraged Reserve Sailors to provide feedback to determine how to better improve and refine these capabilities in the future.
On Sept. 26, at the Washington Navy Yard, she retired with full honors following 37-years of honorable service as a naval officer. During her retirement ceremony Braun reflected on her career and credited her Sailors for the Reserve’s many successes. She remarked, “I appreciate the commitment and sacrifice you and your families make to serve our Nation. Navy Reserve Sailors manage a myriad of responsibilities from family commitments and civilian professions to the increasing demand for the critical skills you provide to our Navy.”
With grace and humility, after receiving the Distinguished Service Medal, she thanked the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John M. Richardson by saying, “Thank you for the award sir, it really is a testament to what our Sailors are doing throughout the fleet and to their hard work and dedication.”
U.S. Navy Reserve spotlights during Vice Adm. Braun’s tour:
– During her tenure as chief of Navy Reserve, the Naval Air Force Reserve’s war fighting capacity was improved by upgrading two aviation squadrons with the most technologically advanced systems. In 2013, Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 209 conducted a homeport change to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington, and transitioned to the EA-18G Growler and Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 60 became Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 60, moving to NAS Jacksonville and transitioning to the MH-60R.
– Launched R2S is as a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) mobile application, when utilized with a Department of Defense (DOD) Common Access Card (CAC) and personal identification number (PIN) with a secure browser, users can perform numerous readiness and mobilization tasks online from a personal mobile device. The R2S application enhances the efficiency and effectiveness for the Reserve Force by providing drilling Reserve Sailors (SELRES) with the ability to securely access Navy email and DOD systems from personal mobile devices 24/7, 365 days a year.
– Reserve Cloud Connect (RC2) utilizes Microsoft O365 commercial cloud to allow access 24/7. These resources will provide a communication and collaboration environment that enables successful completion of training, administrative and operational requirements. Through integration with Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) Active Directory (AD) and exchange services, the SELRES population will continue to have an NMCI integrated presence while obtaining unfettered access to approved Navy information technology resources and the full suite of Microsoft products.
– Directed a comprehensive review of the health of 60 enlisted ratings in the Selected Reserve to maintain stability when typical force shaping tools and measures were inadequate. Her efforts directly align with Navy Talent Management Initiatives, and support healthy career progression for Reserve Sailors.
– Improved the Navy’s ability to access Navy Reserve Sailor’s civilian skills by upgrading systems to allow Reserve Sailors to provide more information about their civilian skillsets and experience.