View Full Version : 2nd Marine Division left in veteran hands of Robeson

11-12-02, 02:20 PM
Article ran : 11/11/2002


Approximately 150 members of the 2nd Marine Division headquarters are deploying to the Horn of Africa on Wednesday, leaving behind a North Carolina native to lead the ground combat troops.

Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler is scheduled to lead the combined-country joint-service task force against trans-national terrorists in that area of the world, and he gave his deputy, newly promoted Brig. Gen. Mastin M. Robeson, command of the unit Sunday night.

“It’s a huge stewardship and could be overwhelming if I tried to do it myself,” Robeson said. “But it’s not mine, it’s our division. I’m just having the privilege of driving the train. Most of the good ideas come from somebody else.”

But Robeson is no stranger to command or the terrorist threat of today.

He led ground combat troops as commander of Bravo Company and Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment in the mid-1980s and the Fleet Antiterrorist Security Team Company out of Norfolk, Va., in the early 1990s, a unit that typically reinforces threatened embassies, ports, naval installations and other U.S. interests around the world.

“There were 72 different missions in 13 different countries,” Robeson said.

Later, he commanded the 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment while on a six-month Mediterranean Sea deployment with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and as commander of the 8th Marine Regiment until the creation of the antiterrorist 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade in 2001. At that time, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment and the 8th Marine Regiment Headquarters gave 4th MEB the infantry battalion and command structure it needed, and Robeson continued to serve as dual regimental commander and deputy brigade commander simultaneously, until his move to the 2nd Marine Division last summer.

Robeson played down the fact that FAST Company and 4th MEB have missions to fight terrorism, but he did say that command of a unit is important for a leader’s professional development.

“To have five years with your head in the game and the things that you can learn from your noncommissioned officers is phenomenal,” Robeson said. “My destiny is to serve in obscurity, waiting for a crisis that may never come.”

‘Orchestra conductor’

He praises the leadership of his noncommissioned officers and staff noncommissioned officers and said that his job is more like that of an orchestra conductor.

“In practical terms, it is simply leadership in a father-son, teacher-scholar relationship,” Robeson said. “We recruit off the same street corner that everyone else does, but we make Marines, and we continue to coach, mentor and teach them.”

He sees the Marine Corps as having three main functions; making Marines, winning battles and returning Marines to society as better citizens.

“There are good changes over the years as our noncommissioned officer and staff noncommissioned officer leadership is adapting to a faster, smarter and stronger force,” Robeson said.

“Each is a smart, hungry, capable young man or woman, and now you have a thinking lance corporal whose decisions can be projected into living rooms around the world that night.”

If there is any challenge, it is that there is so much for them to do, but the battlefield and associated tactics are advancing in leaps and bounds.

“New programs and equipment are giving us a generational leap in technology with the V-22, the advanced amphibious assault vehicle, (as well as) advancements in optics and intelligence gathering,” Robeson said. “It’s like taking moving from a Volkswagen to a sports car.”

Robeson’s father was a Naval Academy graduate and World War II veteran, while his older brother was a lieutenant colonel and infantry battalion commander.

Robeson claims the mountains in the western part of the state as his home. His dream is to have a farm one day where his grandchildren can visit, but following his 18th family move in 28 years of service, it may be a little bit longer before it becomes a reality.

“My family has made a lot of sacrifices,” said Robeson, an elder with the Harvest Presbyterian Church. “This is the third year of my third tour here, and Camp Lejeune is probably the best place to be in the Marine Corps.”

He married his college sweetheart, Nancy, and has four children.

His daughter Elizabeth, 25, is married to a Marine Corps second lieutenant. His son, Mastin, 21, is a senior at The Citadel and will be commissioned as a second lieutenant next spring.

His 19-year old son Alex is a freshman at Covenant College in Chattanooga, Tenn., and 14-year old Lee is a freshmen at Lejeune High School and a member of the Devilpups’ soccer team that will be playing in the state championship game next weekend.

“The glue that holds it together is my bride,” Robeson said. “She’s still the prettiest girl on either side of the Mississippi.”

Contact Eric Steinkopff at estein kopff@jdnews.com or 353-1171, Ext. 236.



11-12-02, 05:15 PM
God Speed to you Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler and Brig. Gen. Mastin M. Robeson.

You have our Best at your fingertips.

Go Get em Boys.

11-12-02, 05:33 PM
if Gen Sattler is taking over as Commander for the WOT (war on terrorism) in the region, guess what the old boss, Gen Franks is doing. You guessed it boys and girls, finalizing a plan for the war on Iraq.

Sgt E