After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill, Rob reported to NAS Pensacola as a Student Naval Aviator. Receiving orders to the fleet as an F-8 Crusader pilot, Rob completed a lengthy workup cycle and WESTPAC deployment on board the USS Constellation followed by a tour as an instructor pilot in the Training Command.
In 1979 he left active duty and affiliated with the Navy Reserve as an F-8 pilot with VFP-206 at NAF Washington retiring as a Commander in 1994. During that time Rob flew as a pilot for Eastern Air Lines and later joined NASA as a Test Pilot in 1986.
Retiring from NASA in 2008 to allow more time with his family, Rob has continued his avocation as a contract test pilot, aviation consultant, and expert witness. In 2018 he was elected to the School Board in Granville County, NC.
In 1996 he married Natale Strain and subsequently began his most rewarding career as a father of two sons, one of whom, Jack, is a Midshipman 2/C at UNC-NROTC, and the other is a sophomore at Carolina as well.