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First female superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy
Maj. Gen. Michelle Johnson has been nominated by the president to be the next superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy. She will be the first female superintendent in the history of the Academy. (Courtesy photo)
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President nominates 1st female Air Force Academy superintendent

Posted 3/1/2013   Updated 6/25/2013 Email story   Print story


3/1/2013 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The president of the United States nominated Maj. Gen. Michelle Johnson for the appointment to the rank of lieutenant general and for assignment to serve as Air Force Academy's 19th superintendent.

If confirmed by the Senate, Johnson would become the first woman to hold the position.

Currently serving as NATO's deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence, Johnson is a 1981 distinguished graduate from the Academy where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in operations research. She was the first female cadet wing commander and the first female Rhodes Scholar from the Academy.

Johnson played varsity basketball all four years while she attended the Academy: she is the second all-time leading scorer in Air Force women's basketball with 1,706 points. She was twice named an Academic All-American and was inducted into the Academic All-American Hall of Fame in 2007, making her the first woman from the Academy and one of only six graduates with that distinction. In addition, she was named the Academy's most outstanding scholar-athlete in 1981.

Johnson is a command pilot with more than 3,600 flight hours in C-141 Starlifters, KC-10 Extenders, C-17 Globemaster IIIs, C-5 Galaxy aircraft and KC-135 Stratotankers.

She served at the Air Force Academy as an assistant professor of political science, instructor pilot and associate air officer commanding from July 1989 to May 1992. Her assignments also include commander of the 97th Operations Group at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., and commander of the 22nd Air Refueling Wing at McConnell AFB, Kan. From November 2005 to March of 2007, Johnson served as the Air Force's director of Public Affairs on the Secretary of the Air Force's staff.

Johnson's joint assignments include the Air Force aide to the president from 1992-1994, deputy director for information and cyberspace policy at the Joint Staff in Washington and director of strategy, policy, programs and logistics for U.S. Transportation Command at Scott AFB, Ill., in addition to her current assignment.

Her awards and decorations include two Defense Superior Service Medals, two Legion of Merit medals, two Air Force Meritorious Service Medals, an Aerial Achievement Medal, an Air Force Commendation Medal and an Air Force Achievement Medal.

She attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar from 1981-1983, earning a Master of Arts degree in politics and economics. She also holds a master's degree in national security strategy from the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington. She was a Syracuse University national security management fellow, a member of Harvard University's senior executive fellows program and a fellow in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Seminar XXI for foreign politics, international relations and the national interest.

No date is set for Johnson to assume duties as the Air Force Academy superintendent.

3/5/2013 2:47:12 PM ET
@Bob to pile on did you notice that she is an airlifttanker pilot I submit that you don't get to 3600 hours in those airframes post-1990 without a significant amount of time in SWA. If you insist on grinding your axe at least pick a factually correct grindstone first.
Lt Col Mims, anthony.mims@us.af.mil
3/5/2013 12:48:50 PM ET
@CMSgt Adkins...I believe he might have been talking about a 4 star in another command and took this inopportune moment to get on his soap box. I actually worked with Col Johnson at the time and she earned her stars.
Me, Here
3/5/2013 8:23:10 AM ET
@Bob if you read the General's bio you will note that both the SW Asia Service and Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals are listed. They are decorations that could have only be earned while deployed to the CENTCOM AOR. Congratulations General.
CMSgt Adkins, JBLE VA
3/5/2013 2:30:42 AM ET
spell-check the headline Oops
A1C Randy Pollock, Oregon
3/4/2013 3:55:56 PM ET
A general officer who has never deployed should not hold that rank regardless of gender.
Bob McLeish, Omaha
3/4/2013 2:50:22 PM ET
There are a lot of smart people in the Senate. That third star is a fact. The right woman on the right place. My congratulations to the General.
Ron de Jager, The Netherlands
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