Meet the new vice commander

  • Published
  • By Airman Cortney Paxton
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
After 22 years and plenty of exposure to the nuclear community, Col. Robert Stanley has joined Team Malmstrom to serve as the new vice commander of Air Force Global Strike Command's 341st Missile Wing.

Stanley's dream to wear a uniform started when he was young; he frequently matched the word 'hero' with several members of his family after hearing their military experiences. When the time finally came for this Kokomo, Ind., native to step up and serve his country, he was awarded a four year scholarship to Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps.

After his ROTC graduation in 1988, the colonel traveled to Comiso Air Station, Italy, to serve in his first position as a senior deputy combat crew instructor/evaluator for the 302nd Tactical Missile Squadron. Although his assignments varied in position, he rarely stepped out of the nuclear world. His Air Force career has consisted of various positions including a senior Minuteman III evaluator/crew commander at Vandenberg AFB, Calif., a Delta II launch controller and assistant operations officer at Cape Canaveral AFS, Fla., and as the Space Launch and Ranges Division deputy chief at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Stanley also served as the chief of the Strategic Operations Division at the Pentagon; in this position he provided direct operation support to the President, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff on all matters regarding nuclear and conventional global strike operations.

"It was interesting [working under the president]," Stanley said. "It's very challenging because even as a colonel you're so far down on the totem pole that you sometimes wonder if you have any impact at all; you find out you are having an impact. You really get to see, from a national perspective, what the motivations for policy changes and for our strategic guidance are, and how what we do in missiles fits in the larger perspective of our budget and competition for resources with the other services."

Stanley's journey through the Air Force ranks fulfilling positions around the nation has given him a taste of varied perspectives throughout the nuclear enterprise, which will ultimately help him execute a successful mission here at Malmstrom.

"I've seen everything from being a crew member in operations, to being a flight commander, to being an instructor, an evaluator, and to being a squadron commander; I got to see from each of those perspectives the building blocks and all the ingredients necessary for successful mission accomplishment," the colonel said. "And now, at wing level, I get to put it all together; I think I've got a pretty good perspective on how we put it all together here at Malmstrom because we have some unique challenges here at this wing."

When Stanley isn't contributing to the recipe for success, he is, more often than not, spending quality time with his wife, Cheryl, and two daughters Beth, 17, and Laura, 21. Although right now the family is spending their time getting settled into their new home in Great Falls, they hope to do some traveling around Montana.

"My family and I love the West and the mountains," he said. "It's just a nice environment to have a family, and it's clean. People are very receptive to a military community, and you can almost feel the sense of camaraderie when you enter Great Falls."

Although new to Great Falls and the vice commander position, Stanley is far from new to a leadership role; his support for those he leads is, to him, unmatched by anyone else.

"I am grateful for the opportunity to be here at Malmstrom AFB. I intend to make the most of every second I can to get out and meet people and try to impact this mission in a positive way; I mean, that's the whole reason I came in, is to make a difference," he said. "I plan to help make sure that our people have everything they need to do their job; they will have no greater supporter than me."