Kudos to new head of Air Force Academy

September 16, 2013 

Great to see Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, a former two-time star at Scott Air Force Base, take over as the 19th superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy. She is the first woman to lead the academy. Let's take a moment to put her accomplishment in better perspective.

The position is that of a lieutenant general, so only that select group can apply. Only about 0.5 percent of the Air Force officer corps attains three- or four-star rank, so potential hires are in pretty rarified air.

You have to "grow" a lieutenant general and that takes considerable time. Johnson is a 1981 graduate of the Air Force Academy and has more than 32 years service.

The first academy graduating class to include women was only the year before. Gen. Janet C. Wolfenbarger was in that class and is now the Air Force's first and only female four-star and is currently the commander of Air Force Materiel Command.

Since 1991 only one superintendent has been a non-USAFA alum. The majority of past superintendents have also been pilots.

Lieutenant general, academy graduate and pilot -- Johnson is the well-qualified trifecta.

Also of note, outgoing superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould has a Scott connection as well. Before his assignment as the 18th academy superintendent he was USTRANSCOM's director of operations.

Bill Malec


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