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

Beer Tickets Land State Fair Manager in Hot Water

state fair logo

Bliefnick hasn't responded for comment

in Local

On-Line Learning Could Get a Boost

state_capitol_4

Maintaining common standards in online college coursework is the goal of a new state law

in Local

Illinois Coal a Hot Commodity Worldwide

coal

Illinois coal exports have risen sharply in recent years, even as its high sulfur content limits its demand in the U.S.

in Local

Downtown Taylorville Building Partially Collapses

tothemoontattoo

A downtown Taylorville business is closed after part of its building collapsed over the weekend.

in Local

Cameras Could Appear in Sangamon County Courtrooms

gavel2

Half a dozen central Illinois counties could soon join a pilot project that allows cameras in court.