New Hampshire parents witness deployed son's promotion via video

  • Published
  • By J.C. Corcoran
  • 66th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
As far as military promotions go, Ryan Robinson's promotion to Air Force major on Dec. 30, 2008, appeared to be nothing out of the ordinary. Maj. Robinson, a Nashua, N.H., native currently serving in Iraq, was surrounded by his commander, friends and colleagues. The ceremony, including the "pinning on" of his new grade and the administering of the Oath of Office, seemed normal and all part of a military tradition that has gone on for decades.

However, there was one distinctive difference in this particular event, making it very special for this newly promoted career Air Force officer. He was able to share his promotion ceremony with his mother, father and sister who were able to witness the event taking place in Iraq from the video teleconference center at Hanscom. Major Robinson's father, Edward; mother, Virginia and sister, Shelley and her fiancé, Corey Vessels, traveled from Nashua to Hanscom to be part of this event via video link.

"It was just awesome," said Major Robinson. "For the first time in my Air Force career, my family was able to share this special moment with me. It was almost like having them there with me," he said.

The teleconference was organized by Major Robinson's colleague, Maj. Pete Norton, a fellow New Englander and native of Braintree, Mass. Coordinating everything via emails with Hanscom officials, Major Norton was able to arrange for the Robinson family to be escorted onto the base to see their son promoted by his commander, U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Mary Legere, Combined Joint Intelligence Iraq director and Dover, N.H., native.

Accompanying Major Robinson's family were family members of Major Norton's, including his mother, Margaret Norton; his sister, Marcia Peterson; nieces, McKenna Peterson and Anna Norton and his nephew, Michael Peterson.

"I want to extend a huge thank you to the folks back at Hanscom," said Major Robinson. "Mr. Bill Autote at the video teleconference center and Mr. Jim Corcoran from the Public Affairs Office rolled out the red carpet to our families.

"My parents have never seen me in this kind of environment and have never seen me promoted so the event meant so much to them and to me. They didn't have to accommodate our request, but they did, and it means more than they'll ever know," he said.

Both Major Robinson and Major Norton have been deployed since July of 2008 and expect to return home in August.