Owen Robertson

Profile Updated: May 2, 2009
Residing In Sumter, SC USA
Spouse/Partner Jackielyn Robertson
Occupation USAF active duty
Children Dan born September 2003, Katelyn born 18 minutes later.
Military Service: USAF  
Did you attend the 20 year reunion?

no

What have you been up to the past 20 years?

I joined the Air Force in 1991, learned to be a jet engine mechanic at Chanute AFB, Illinois. My first base was RAF Bentwaters, UK (91-93). That base is closed now, but it had two squadrons of A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft at the time and I rebuilt the engines working backshop maintenance. One day at Bentwaters I was waiting to get my haircut at the base barber shop and the guy sitting next to me looked just like Frank Guillen. I was 6,000 miles from Madera and had no idea that Frank was also in the Air Force, but he was looking at me funny too so I said, "Frank?" - That's my small world story. When Bentwaters closed, a lot of the A-10's went to Spangdahlem AB, Germany and I went with them (93-95). When I got to Spangdahlem's engine backshop, it was pretty chaotic. They already had the F-16 Falcons and F-4 Phantoms at that base, and were currently getting the A-10's from Bentwaters and F-15 Eagles from Bitburg AB which was also part of the early 90's round of base closures. Spang's engine backshop was a busy place with 4 different jet engine types all being completely overhauled in the same building, but the F-4's were phased out and that freed up some room. I started out working the familiar A-10 engine and then moved across the shop to work on F-16 engines, so that was a learning experience. When my 2 years at Spang was up I drew orders to Shaw AFB, South Carolina but there was no way I wanted to go there. After 4 years overseas, I wanted to be closer to Madera. I swapped assignments with a guy that had orders to Hill AFB, UT (95-97). I bypassed backshop at Hill and ended up on the flightline. Hill had 3 squadrons of F-16 Falcons. I belonged to the 34th Fighter Squadron and maintained F-16 engines and supported flying operations. We handled the basic maintenance needs of the aircraft to keep it going, maintenance engine runs to troubleshoot/ops check our work, as well as periodic inspections. If there was anything that couldn't be fixed by us on the flightline, we'd remove the engine, take it to backshop and receive a spare to install in its place. From Hill I deployed with the 34th FS to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in mid June of 1996. We flew our F-16's out of Dhahran, but were housed down the road at Khobar Towers. The al-Qaida bombing of Khobar Towers occurred 10 days after we got there, killing 19 Airman. Luckily, we were in a centralized building and not too close to the actual truck bomb. I just checked Wikipedia and they have the time of the explosion wrong at 9:50pm. The bomb went off at 10:10pm. I was on midshift and was supposed to meet downstairs at 2230 to be at work at 2300hrs. I was already dressed for work at 2210 and at the time the bomb went off I was killing time sitting on the couch in the common room playing Mortal Kombat II on my Sega Genesis 32X. Wikipedia did get the part about the shock wave right. The force was unbelievable, it shattered the sliding glass door in front of me, blew me and the sofa backwards, toppling the sofa, then shattered every window behind me. We were on the 7th floor of our building and after that shock wave, not one pane of glass was in tact on either side of that building on any of the 8 floors. The towers closer to the blast got way worse, towers behind ours weren't hit as bad, but even a mile away, at least some of the glass was blown out of buildings. After a total of 3 months at Khobar Towers/Dhahran they relocated all of us and all the aircraft to Sheikh Isa AB, Bahrain. Bahrain was much quieter and we continued to fly Operation Southern Watch over Southern Iraq for about 90 days before returning to Utah. June 1996 through October 1996 was my only involvement in Operation Southern Watch. For the sake of history, it should be noted that Operation Southern Watch started just after 1991's Gulf War and continued 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year non-stop right up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Therefore people stating that they understood the first Gulf War but don't see why we went back in 2003 should understand that we never left after 1991 and never had intentions of leaving either. Operation Northern Watch occurred in conjunction with Operation Southern Watch for the purpose of flying Northern Iraq's airspace and we launched those sorties out of Turkey rather than Saudi Arabia. For 12 years the UN happily had us police Saddam's airspace forcing him with the occasional air strikes to get back into compliance with UN Security Council directives, it was a non stop job and the UN would've supported it for the next 50 years or more. Saddam's failure to adhere to UN resolutions placed on him following his unjust invasion of Kuwait opened him up to continued military action sanctioned by the UN. Anyone stating that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was illegal hasn't been paying much attention to actual events occurring between 1991 and 2003. Anyway, when my time at Hill AFB was up I got orders to Osan AB, Korea (97-98) with a follow-on assignment to Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, Nevada (98-06). One day I was working out at the base gym at Osan when a message put together by American Forces Radio played. It was a recording wishing a happy holidays to those of us overseas from the 49er cheerleaders. I got a kick out of that and it brought me closer to home knowing that Maderans Tristin Davis and Veruschka Tiller were 49er cheerleaders. Although I'm not sure they were still doing that in '97 when I was in Korea. At Korea, I worked A-10's on the flightline and was happy to get away from F-16's. At Nellis I worked F-16's on the flightline again, but only for about 8 months before being pulled over to the A-10 Unit at Nellis for need of my experience there at the time. Flightline as an A-10 jet mechanic is a great job so I was happy and stayed put there until 2006. We did a lot of training with the Army and got to fly our A-10's out of Ft Hood, Texas, Ft Drum, upstate New York, and Ft Campbell, Kentucky on a regular basis as well as trips to Tyndall AFB and Hurlburt Field, Florida, so some pretty decent TDY's. Meanwhile, at Nellis AFB, I met my incredible wife Jackie just prior to September 2001, she was an Air Force brat and her father is a retired Lieutenant Colonel. We got married at Mount Charleston, Nevada about 4hrs after a small aircraft made a crash landing on top of that very mountain on a small winding road about 100 yards from my wedding. Amazingly no one was hurt, it just closed the only road to the wedding site and shut down all the power. It created some challenges but we pressed on. Morrie Estrada was my best man. Then with the addition of Daniel and Katelyn to our family, I decided I needed a change and left the maintenance career field. In May 2006 I started technical training at Keesler AFB, Mississippi to become a weather forecaster. After Keesler, I ended up at Shaw AFB, South Carolina where I currently forecast weather for Iraq and Afghanistan. We bought a great house here and intend to stay put. Sumter, SC is about the same size as Madera and like Madera, we are only a 2-4 hr drive (doesn't matter much which direction) to someplace interesting and touristy. The coast is close, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains along the Tennessee/North Carolina border and lots of lakes and great scenery, it's very green here. Charleston and Charlotte aren't far and there are a lot of nearby Revolutionary War and Civil War sites. Florence, SC is our Fresno when we just want to go to a restaurant or something that Sumter doesn't have. I much prefer living in a small town with zero traffic issues. Las Vegas traffic is nuts, and you have to give yourself 5 hrs for any trip to the DMV which is sickening. The people at the DMV here in South Carolina are polite and I've been in and out in no time with all 5 cars I've registered here. I'm still a big fan of classic cars and currently I own a 1963 Thunderbird, a 1969 Mustang fastback, a 1970 Mustang Mach 1, and a firs

What are your favorite memories from Madera High?

My senior year was a lot of fun, mainly because I ditched on such a regular basis and found fun things to do with my "off" time. I owe a lot to the three teachers that I had to practically beg for D's that final semester. That enabled the exact number of credits needed to graduate on time. My last report card had three D's, 2 F's, and an N/A in English Literature-not sure what that means. My guidance counselor told me I'd never amount to anything.

Owen's Latest Interactions

Owen Robertson has a birthday today.
Mar
02
Mar 02, 2018 at 4:33 AM
Owen Robertson has a birthday today.
Mar 02, 2017 at 4:33 AM
Owen Robertson has a birthday today.
Mar 02, 2016 at 4:33 AM
Owen Robertson has a birthday today.
Mar 02, 2015 at 4:33 AM
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
me at Yosemite, 2001
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Mt Charleston, NV, June 2003
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Dan in front of our house in South Carolina (taken from the road), 2007
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
I'm not sure if this is safe. I grew up before "safety" was in style. It does look like fun! Wouldn't it be great if she could climb up one side and then down the other? I should encourage that!
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Jackie, Dan, and Katelyn at the house, 2008. This is my favorite picture, although I'm sure there is room for a car in there somewhere!
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Me, Jackie, Dan, and Katelyn outside our house. May, 2008
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
The twins admiring dad's new Hampton Blower on the Boss 429 at the Vegas house, 2004. Polished aluminum is my favorite color.
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
the Boss 429 project, Vegas, 2005.
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
The backyard of the Vegas house and most of my cars at that time, taken in 2005. Black 1965 Fastback (factory 4 barrel, factory 4 speed), 1975 Ford Bronco, 1969 Sportsroof, 1970 Mach 1
Posted: Mar 08, 2014 at 12:00 AM
The '65 Mustang that I owned from 1985 until 2006, taken in 2000 at the Vegas house.