President nominates former women's basketball star as new superintendent

    Michelle Johnson
    Michelle Johnson

    March 1, 2013

    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, Gen. Michelle 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 1991.

    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.

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