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 Entertainment

Daughter reveals Joan Rivers is still on life support

Comedian Joan Rivers arrives for the premiere of the documentary "Joan Rivers - A Piece Of Work" during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 25, 2010.

Comedian Joan Rivers remains on life support after being hospitalized in serious condition due to cardiac arrest.

in Music

Paul McCartney urges Scots to shun independence

Sir Paul McCartney performs with his band during the "Out There" Tour at the Times Union Center on Saturday, July 5, 2014, in Albany, N.Y.

Paul McCartney has signed an open letter to Scottish voters urging them to choose 'No' in a crucial poll over plans for the nation to break away from the rest of the U.K.

in Music

Justin Bieber charged with dangerous driving

Canadian pop singer Justin Bieber drives a quad bike at the beach as he takes a break in a resort in Punta Chame on the outskirts of Panama City in a January 27, 2014 file photo.

Justin Bieber has been charged with dangerous driving and assault following an altercation and collision on Friday.