It took all of about five minutes for Command Sgt. Maj. Rob Cobb and his family to make up their minds that they were going to love their new home of Fort Bliss and El Paso.
“As we were coming in to El Paso, my daughter (Erin) was sitting in the backseat and she is like, ‘I already like this place.’” Cobb said.
“We were coming through where the Fountains mall is at,” Cobb said.
“You could see all the restaurants and shopping areas and all the things. Honestly, five minutes into El Paso, she said, ‘I already like this place.’”
Cobb took over as the senior enlisted leader for the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss in August.
He and his family have already been exploring the Borderland area – including hiking in the Franklin Mountains, climbing to the top of Mount Cristo Rey and checking out all the restaurants and shopping in El Paso, he said.
“I can truly say my family has thoroughly enjoyed El Paso,” he said.
Cobb, a 44-year-old from Camden, S.C., has spent most of his career as an airborne noncommissioned officer. He most recently served as the senior enlisted leader for the 1st Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Even though he has only been here about 90 days, Cobb is also seriously impressed with the facilities at Fort Bliss – like the Freedom Crossing shopping center, the Aquatics Training Center and the training area.
These facilities lead the Army and should serve as a model for other installations, he said.
“By far – and if it were not true, I would not say it – this is the best installation I have ever been on,” Cobb said.
The training area is nearly 1 million acres and lends itself to “some phenomenal” opportunities to train and get soldiers and units ready for whatever mission lies ahead, Cobb said.
He has also been impressed by the close relationship between Fort Bliss and the El Paso community – calling it one of the best he has ever seen.
“I thought the one at Fort Bragg was pretty strong,” Cobb said. “But it’s nothing like here.”
Cobb said he his main goal is pretty simple – to help instill a culture of being ready now.
“We have been at war for 17 years,” he said. “We have gotten into the habit of looking at the calendar and saying we are deploying in X month and this is the train-up path we need to go on to get there and we need to be ready then.”
“We can no longer have that mindset,” Cobb said. “We have to be ready all the time. We live in an uncertain world.” That means being ready to deploy to deal with the nation’s enemies or helping out with hurricane relief – like the Combat Aviation Brigade did last year in Puerto Rico, he said.
“Our soldiers at Fort Bliss have to be ready to respond at a moment’s notice,” Cobb said. “We are (ready). We just want to place a renewed emphasis on that and making sure everyone from the lowest private to myself and the commanding general put that laser focus on that.”
By David Burge/Special for the Herald-Post
David Burge is a producer at ABC-7 in El Paso. He has more than three decades of experience working in newspapers in California, New Mexico and Texas
Keep an eye out for more “Meet the Leader” profiles in future editions of the Herald-Post.