Air Force Academy, CO (KICD)–A Spencer native has become the first woman to lead the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson a 1981 graduate of the school and former professor at the academy, said her appointment is an example of the nation’s willingness to give everyone a chance. She graduated from Spencer High School in 1977.
Johnson told the school’s 4,000 cadets that she wants them to understand the Air Force’s global influence, and she stressed that its capabilities are balanced on the shoulders of sergeants and airmen. As a Rhodes scholar, Johnson earned a master’s degree in politics and economics from Oxford University. She also holds a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National War College at Fort Lesley J. McNair in Washington.
Johnson’s most recent assignment was as NATO’s deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence. She played varsity basketball all four years at the Air Force Academy and is the women’s team’s second-highest all-time scorer with 1,706 points.
Johnson was an assistant professor of political science and instructor pilot at the academy from July 1989 until May 1992.
She is a command pilot with more than 3,600 flight hours in large cargo planes and aerial refueling tankers.