TRIBUTE TO JOSUE ROBLES; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 134
(Senate - September 18, 2014)

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[Pages S5849-S5850]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                        TRIBUTE TO JOSUE ROBLES

  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, today I would like to pay tribute to a 
great American veteran, businessman, and leader, MG Josue Robles, 
Retired, or, as he prefers to be called, Joe. Joe is stepping down at 
the end of this year as the CEO and president of USAA, a great American 
institution based in San Antonio. His retirement marks a milestone in 
an inspirational and remarkable American story and the conclusion of an 
impressive career. He will be sorely missed not only by the employees 
at USAA but by the greater San Antonio community and beyond.
  The eldest of nine children, Joe was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto 
Rico, in 1946. His father was working as a waiter when he was 
approached by a group of Americans who were recruiting for steel mills 
in the United States. His dad went to work for U.S. Steel in Lorain, 
OH. Eighteen months later, when Joe was 3, his dad had saved enough 
money to send for the family. Their house in Ohio was six blocks from 
the steel mill, where his father worked for the next 35 years, in 
addition to part-time work as a carpenter and plumber to supplement his 
income.
  Starting at age 11 and throughout high school, Joe worked a variety 
of jobs at a local grocery store and in the neighborhood doing yard 
work. He worked in the steel mill one summer and learned very quickly 
what a hot, dirty, dangerous place it was. One summer there was enough, 
and it motivated Joe to go to school and get a good education so he 
would never have to shovel slag again.
  While in high school, Joe was awarded a medical school scholarship 
sponsored by the local medical society. They would pay for his 
education if he agreed to come back and practice medicine in his 
hometown. But first he had to earn an undergraduate degree. Joe 
graduated from high school in 1964 and worked that summer painting a 
house. The job paid enough to cover his first year of tuition at Lorain 
County Community College. Joe married that year and went to work full 
time at a nuclear plant, where he monitored radiation levels. Within 2 
years, his long hours forced him to drop a few classes and switch his 
student status to part time. Then, in 1966, his country came calling, 
and Joe was drafted into the U.S. Army.
  By any measure, Joe's military career was stellar. His awards and 
mission-critical positions and assignments are too numerous to fully 
recount, but let me share a few highlights. Joe completed his basic 
training at Fort Jackson, SC. While there, he earned a recommendation 
for the Artillery Officer Candidate School at Fort Sill, OK. Once 
commissioned as a second lieutenant, he was sent to Korea in 1967 and 
1968, followed by assignment as an executive officer at Fort Knox, KY, 
and then 12 months as a battery commander in Vietnam.
  In the latter part of his career, Joe served as the chief of the 
Program and Budget Office at the U.S. Army Headquarters, the division 
artillery commander of the 1st Infantry Division, Mechanized, at Fort 
Riley, KS; and the Army planner and director for operations and support 
at Department of the Army Headquarters. As assistant division commander 
of the 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, TX, he prepared and deployed 
the division for Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. He then served 
as the director of the Army budget and as commanding general of the 1st 
Infantry Division, Mechanized, out of Fort Riley, KS--the legendary 
``Big Red One.''

[[Page S5850]]

  As is the case in any military career, Joe had to move his family 
many times. He has a son who is autistic, and each move meant 
adjustments to new schools, teachers, and therapists. In 1994, Joe 
decided it was time to retire from the Army so that his family would 
have a more stable life. After a stint as a USAA board member from 1990 
to 1994, Joe joined USAA full time in 1994. He assumed the position of 
president and CEO in 2007 after serving as the CFO for a number of 
years.
  Under his leadership as CEO, not only has USAA seen exponential 
growth, it was ranked No. 1 for customer service, satisfaction, or 
advocacy by Bloomberg Businessweek, MSN Money, the American Association 
of Individual Investors, Forrester Research, and J.D. Power. Committed 
to advocating for military families, Joe has guided USAA to become a 
national leader in hiring veterans and military spouses and offering 
them careers in the private sector. Joe was invited to the White House 
and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to be recognized for USAA's efforts in 
this area and demonstrating its commitment by ensuring that veterans 
and military spouses comprised 30 percent of USAA's new hires in 2013.
  Beyond those astounding achievements, Joe has also been a dedicated 
and active member of his community throughout his career. In 2011, Joe 
was inducted into the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished 
Americans. Horatio Alger Award recipients are dedicated community 
leaders who demonstrate individual initiative, a commitment to 
excellence, and remarkable achievements through honesty, hard work, 
self-reliance, and perseverance over adversity.
  Joe has left some big shoes for future leaders of the military, USAA, 
and the San Antonio community. His is the quintessential American 
story--one of perseverance, work ethic, and fortitude. But if you ask 
most people who know Joe well, they will tell you what stands out most 
about him is that he is simply a great human being. He views himself as 
not just a leader but part of a greater community--a community of 
people to which he is dedicated and about which he cares deeply. That 
is really what sets Joe apart from many other hard-charging leaders, 
and it is why he will be profoundly missed. I offer my congratulations 
to Joe Robles on a commendable career, a lifetime of achievements and 
his ability to maintain humility and compassion through it all.

                          ____________________