Rob Givens is the definition of a true patriot. Whether to his country or his community, service is at the core of his life.
“I was fortunate to have served our country in uniform. The experience was transformative for me. To say it made me who I am today, is understated,” states Givens.
After spending 27 years with the United States Air Force and reaching the rank of Brigadier General, he retired to return to his native Kentucky. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy and was commissioned in 1986. He has completed a variety of operational assignments in both the F-16 and A-10 clocking in more than 3,700 flying hours and was twice decorated with the Distinguished Flying Cross for heroism in Iraq. He’s a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Fighter Weapons School and flew as the Right Wing for the USAF Thunderbirds.
Throughout his military career, Givens gained immense management experience as special assistant to the chairman of joint chiefs of staff and deputy assistant chief of staff for Operations of U.S. Forces Korea. His previous joint assignments include the Director of the Air Land Sea Application Center, Special Assistant to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations U.S. Forces Korea and Director, Combined Air and Space Operations Center, U.S. Air Forces Central Command, Southwest Asia.
With all of his military service and training, it might seem that Givens is due for little R&R. However, service to Givens didn’t stop with his retirement from the military. Today, Givens enjoys giving back to veterans and his community through a variety of projects that seem to cover quite a spectrum ranging from acting to aviation.
Not one to step away from the dramatic, Givens become involved in a unique group called Shakespeare with Veterans, a weekly conversation group and acting ensemble which brings military service members together.
“The power of bringing veterans from different eras, services, and ranks is indescribable. The shared experience whether in the jungles of Vietnam or over the skies of Iraq create a bond that few are privileged to share. Shakespeare often wrote of this in his plays. It has been my honor to share the “circle” with others through the vehicle of drama. And beyond that, its just plain good fun with amazing people.”
The group provides the opportunity for camaraderie and a higher sense of purpose representing what veterans loved most during their military service. The group consists of women and men who served in all military branches, representing conflicts from Vietnam to today, with former ranks from Specialist to a Brigadier General!
Aside from drama, is Given’s passion for aviation. With his impressive training as a pilot, Givens is able to use his experiences to not only teach about aviation but also about leadership through his work with Flight Club 502, a non-profit based out of Bowman Field dedicated to teaching young students about leadership and success through realistic goal setting in aviation and through Next Gen/STEM education.
“America is an airpower nation,” recalls Givens. We travel by air, move goods by air, and fight by air. To maintain our airpower, both civil and military, we need young Americans to embrace all aspects that lead to careers in aviation. Flight Club 502 is an excellent pathway to meet that objective.”
As a professional, today Givens serves as the State Director for Senator Rand Paul. As State Director, Givens is responsible for overseeing the Senator’s statewide operations. His commitment to service, now out of uniform, is focused on making our Commonwealth a better place to live and helping Dr. Paul represent interests of our communities in Washington D.C.
When asked what advice he would give to young troops transitioning into the civilian life today, Givens suggests, “Always remember what great value you bring to the country whether in or out of uniform and never shy away from helping those around you understand service to our country.”
For more information on Shakespeare for Veterans, Please visit https://kyshakespeare.com/programs/shakespeare-with-veterans To find out more about Flight Club 502, log onto flightclub502.org •