Brass honors retiring Gen. Hobbins
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Standing before the Air Force’s top leaders and hundreds of airmen from across Europe, Gen. Tom Hobbins ceremoniously retired Monday after 38 years of military service.
The Air Force’s chief of staff, Gen. T. Michael Moseley, praised Hobbins for his two years of work as commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe and thanked him personally for being a mentor and friend during his career. Moseley and Hobbins have known each other since they flew F-15 fighter jets years ago.
“I’ll tell you, in this business, it’s very good to have someone that you can call in the middle of the night or during the day to share thoughts and ideas with,” said Moseley, the Air Force’s senior uniformed officer. “And Tom, you and I have been able to do that since we were very young officers. So, I’m going to miss you in this Air Force. And we’re going to wish you the best, you and Robbin.”
Top military officers from the Air Force, Army and NATO along with German politicians from local villages and states gathered in a Ramstein hangar to honor and bid farewell to Hobbins and his wife, Robbin.
The general was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the third-highest decoration the military can bestow upon a military member. His wife received the Air Force’s Exceptional Service Award, the highest award a civilian can receive, for her volunteer work to servicemembers and their families.
The names of those in attendance to honor Hobbins read like a “Who’s Who” of U.S. military leaders, from Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne to U.S. European Command leader Gen. John Craddock. William R. Timken Jr., U.S. ambassador to Germany, also was there.
As Hobbins reflects on his long career, Wynne said he probably is wondering whether he made a difference during his tenure.
“And, Tom, I’m here to tell you that you have made a difference in many lives,” Wynne said.
Hobbins called his time in the Air Force “magnificent and wonderful” and said serving as commander of USAFE was one of the highlights of his career.
“I’m proud to have served on this team,” he said.
He praised his wife, whom he called his “wingman for life.”
Robbin Hobbins was honored for her volunteer work, including the many hours she dedicated to wounded servicemembers at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
The 435th Contingency Aeromedical Staging Facility at Ramstein, which provides medical care for patients as they are flown into Germany from Iraq and Afghanistan, named a room after her in honor of her work. In addition, she served as the European coordinator for Sew Much Comfort, a nonprofit organization that makes clothing for servicemembers with combat injuries.
The couple plans to return to Lancaster, Pa., to take care of their aging mothers, both who are in their 80s and live only 10 miles apart. But Hobbins said he might search for a job as a defense consultant in the future.