I am The 908th: Master Sgt. Robert Champion

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shelby Thurman
  • 908th Airlift Wing

Master Sgt. Robert Champion is the operations superintendent with the 908th Civil Engineering Squadron at the 908th Airlift Wing. The Prattville native was a traditional reservist who worked in the agriculture industry up until May 5th, 2022, where he transitioned to his current full time role with 908th CES.

Champion started his military career with the Navy in 1988. During his time with the U.S Naval Construction Battalions, better known as the Seabees, he deployed in support of Operation Desert Storm. He left the Navy as a Petty Officer 3rd Class after eight years of service.

Still living in Prattville, Champion has been married to his wife Kathleen for 26 years now and they have two children, Buzz and Mae. Even though he had 17 great years in the civilian world since leaving the Navy, he said that it felt like there was something missing from his life.

“I felt like I had not finished something,” said Champion.

As someone who had a calling to become a teacher and care for others, he thought it seemed right to pursue a career that put him in that kind of role again. He said that the camaraderie and friendships he made during his time in the Navy also caused him to feel drawn back towards the military. After some convincing from his friend, retired Lt. Col. Stephen Wells, former 908th CES commander, he joined the Air Force Reserve as a TR in 2013. He has been with 908th CES as a heavy equipment operator specialist ever since.

Champion has been glad to be back in the military, but especially now so that he is a senior noncommissioned officer. He said that it aligns with what he feels like is his purpose, which is to teach and help others.

He likes to link the original meaning of his surname to his outlook on life and to his work as a SNCO.

“The surname’s original meaning meant to be an advocate for somebody else,” said Champion. “We champion causes and assist others. So I feel like that is what my purpose here is. Whether it’s with someone’s training requirements or coaching, I come along in their endeavor and help them.”

With that in mind, he wants everyone to remember his squadron’s motto: “We’re always family.”