MCpl Paul Robins, CD
MCpl Paul Robins decided in 1987 that working at the local A&P in Picton, Ontario wasn’t going to be the life for him. Paul wanted other challenges in life and decided that his interest in aircraft could be used in the Air Force. A close friend of his family and mentor had been a Chinook pilot and highly encouraged his decision.
Skipping an afternoon of high school, Paul took off to Kingston to get the scoop on the trades that were available in the service. Lots of navy jobs at the time but not too many in the Air Force. Being a patient and calm fellow, he waited it out until September 1988 where he was enrolled as an Airframe Technician and was off to beautiful Cornwallis, NS for basic training. Ten weeks flew by and he continued his training in Borden where he spent the next 5 months learning all about aircraft. Quite a difference from Cornwallis without all the yelling.
In May 1989, Paul was posted to 410 Sqn Cold Lake as a QL3 Airframe Tech. This was a great learning environment with the Squadron being a training unit for F-18 pilots. Paul was quite busy working on fuel and landing gear systems. Two years later he was posted internally to 1 Air Maintenance Sqn where he spent the next 10 years in a third line facility. This is where he honed his skills and gained expertise on overhauling flight control servos and most of the hydraulic components that were on the jet. One advantage of this was that it was a “climate controlled clean room” that he worked in, so he got to know many of the RM Techs that were at Cold Lake when they came to do maintenance on the units in the shop. He thought this might be an interesting career change if the opportunity arose. They all had great stories of tours and had a great time at their job.
Due to his interest in second language training Paul was lucky enough to be chosen to take a continuous French course in Cold Lake. During the ten month course starting in June 1999, 1 CAD in Winnipeg decided that some trades in the Air Force were overborne. Newly promoted to MCpl he new this was his chance to leave Cold Lake. He put in his compulsory remuster and after 2 years he left for CFSME in Sept 2001.
Graduating after ten months of QL3 training in the RM Cell, Paul was off to 17 Wing to work with very experienced people in all trades. This was a little different from airplane maintenance, as you didn’t have a manual to help your troubleshooting. In 2006 he went back to the school and got his QL5’s. Upon his return to Winnipeg he got a message for his promotion and was off to Shilo MB. Shilo was like Cold Lake but not as far from civilization. Being an extremely small unit at a very busy base, MCpl Robins has faced all sorts of challenges over the last two years.
20 Years has flown by for MCpl Robins and he’s had the opportunity to travel around the world with the Service: South Korea with the Royal Artillery Band, West Germany with the Air Command Band and all over Canada with the 4 Wing Brass and Reed Band. There were no tours for Paul as people weren’t deployed out of Cold Lake and didn’t deploy in his short time as a RM Tech except to sunny Inuvik in June 2004 for work in the arrestor gear section with fellow Rm’s. Good times though!
Paul will return to Winnipeg in September to be with his wife Colleen Kachulak , three year old son Luke and one year old daughter Ella. MCpl Robins is grateful for all the Forces has done for him and how much it has helped him prepare for his future endeavours in the civilian workforce. He plans on working in the HVAC world or may just work part time until the kids are full-time in school.