September 18, 2014 - Issue: Vol. 160, No. 134 — Daily Edition113th Congress (2013 - 2014) - 2nd Session
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. ____________________