News

First woman to take command of U.S. Air Force Academy

First woman to take command of U.S. Air Force Academy

The first woman to lead the U.S. Air Force Academy formally took command. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – The first woman to lead the U.S. Air Force Academy formally took command on Monday, ushering in a new era for the 59-year-old military school in Colorado.

Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson, welcomed with a Change of Command ceremony, told a crowd of hundreds of cadets, staff, service leaders and supporters that she looked forward to the challenge of leading the academy through both its triumphs and its challenges.

“We can find meaning in adversity, and there are lessons from overcoming negative experiences and to grow stronger through them,” she said.

Johnson takes over for Lieutenant General Mike Gould, a 1976 graduate who was superintendent for four years and who is set to retire in October. Johnson is the academy’s 19th superintendent.

The arrival of a female chief signals a change for a school that has seen its share of sexual scandals, most recently the dismissal of cadet Jamil Cooks after his April conviction on a charge of abusive sexual conduct after he pleaded guilty to the unlawful entry into the rooms of two female cadets.

In 2003, reports that dozens of female academy cadets had been sexually assaulted by fellow cadets in incidents covering a decade, but that academy officials ignored or downplayed their complaints, led to Congressional hearings.

Johnson, a 1981 academy graduate, was the academy’s first female cadet wing commander. She comes to the academy after serving as the Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations and Intelligence at the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Johnson attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and earned a master’s degree in politics and economics.

The academy was authorized by President Dwight. D. Eisenhower in 1954, offering a four-year program to graduate cadets with a bachelor of science and a commission as second lieutenant in the Air Force.

Recent Headlines

in Local

Woman Accused of Fatal Accident Wants New Attorney

Fresh
ANDREA LITTLE 102052

Andrea Little had been expected to plead guilty.

in Local

Federal Grand Jury Indicts 2 Decatur Residents

jail

Two Decatur residents have been charged by a federal grand jury in Springfield.

in Local

House Fails to Override Veto of Union-Backed Bill

rauner

The House voted 68-34 to override Rauner's veto of the bill. It needed 71 votes to become law.

in Local

Child Care Assistance Program Changes Fail By One Vote

local_news_generic

A plan to restore state-subsidized child care assistance for low-income working parents has failed by one vote in the Illinois House.

in Local

Peoria Settles With Man Who Parodied Mayor on Twitter

twitter

The city of Peoria will pay $125,000 to a man whose home was raided after he created a Twitter account to parody the mayor.