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Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson and Gen. Mark Welsh
Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson (right) accepts the guidon from Gen. Mark Welsh during the Academy Superintendent Change of Command cermony Aug. 12, 2013. Johnson is the Academy's 19th superintendent. (U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)
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Academy welcomes new superintendent

Posted 8/12/2013   Updated 8/12/2013 Email story   Print story


by 1st Lt. Brandon Baccam
Academy Public Affairs

8/12/2013 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The U.S. Air Force Academy reached its latest milestone here Monday when its new superintendent assumed command in a ceremony before hundreds of guests, Academy staff and cadets.

Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson told the crowd she looks forward to leading the Academy's mission of educating, training and inspiring men and women to become officers of character, motivated to lead the Air Force in service to the nation.

"I am honored, grateful and very happy to be the 19th superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy," she said.

A class of 1981 distinguished graduate, Johnson was the Academy's first female cadet wing commander. Prior to earning her pilot wings in 1984, she attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar from 1981 to 1983, earning a Master of Arts degree in politics and economics. Johnson also played varsity basketball throughout her four years at the Academy, and is the second all-time leading scorer for Air Force.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh presided over the change of command and asked Johnson to strive to earn the trust of Academy Airmen and cadets.

"These are the future leaders of our Air Force and the remarkable staff and faculty who prepare them for that role," he said to Johnson, referring to the crowd. "I need you to lead them. I need you to inspire them. I need you to take care of them - and I absolutely know that you're the right person for this job."

Johnson said she understood the importance of her role as the Academy's top officer and the role all Academy Airmen have to play. 

"When I took our Academy's guidon a few minutes ago, it represented my duty to all who are assigned here in our U.S. Air Force Academy mission," she said. "We are all responsible for preparing our cadets to lead their juniors, team with peers, and ably follow their seniors and to adhere to principles great than all of us. Our words and deeds must all be consistent with our purpose, regardless of rank, military and civilian."

As Johnson addressed the crowd, she emphasized the importance of staying current to accomplish the mission.

"I have a lot of listening to do - a lot of learning to do - to understand how things are now to better help us go forward together. Johnson said.

"I also know we'll inevitably face challenges ... It won't be easy, but we can find meaning in adversity, and there are lessons from overcoming negative experiences and to grow stronger through them."

Johnson takes over for Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, a 1976 Academy graduate who served as Academy superintendent for four years. Gould officially retires from the Air Force Oct. 1 after 37 years of service.

Prior to taking on the role of Academy superintendent, Johnson served as the Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations and Intelligence, Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Johnson vowed to fully devote herself to her new duties and said she was more than enthusiastic about meeting Academy Airmen and staff.

"At the end of the day, our mission is to produce Academy graduates who are effective military officers and educated citizens for our nation, proud of their accomplishments, yet without hubris; confident, yet with the humility to listen; resilient to conquer adversity and emerge stronger with respect for human dignity within themselves and others," she said. "I can't wait to get started. "Let's go!"

8/28/2013 7:01:33 PM ET
No mention of kids or hubby eh Can you say Ellen
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