3-star general and Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Lt. General Michelle Johnson, has been named the 2014 American Legion Auxiliary Woman of the Year for her positive impact on the quality of life for military servicemembers, veterans and their families.
As Superintendent of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., the first woman to hold this position, Johnson directs a four-year regimen of military training, academics, athletics, and character development programs leading cadets to a Bachelor of Science degree and commission as a second lieutenant. More importantly, they emerge confident, capable, proud leaders with the background and moral courage that serve our Air Force and nation well.
Johnson knows a thing or two about confidence and courage. Thirty years before becoming Superintendent, she was at the controls of jet-powered transport planes, and, in her 20s, often commanded aircraft crews that included men old enough to be her father. She has also faced the challenges of living with multiple sclerosis for over a decade, though she suffers few symptoms and none that affect her work.
After graduating from high school in 1977, Johnson entered the Air Force Academy as a member of only the second class to enroll women to train for a career as an office. In her senior year, she was the first woman to serve as cadet wing commander, the most senior rank attainable at the four-year institution. She graduated in 1981 as a Rhodes Scholar and earned her pilot wings in 1984.
“General Johnson’s work throughout her military career aligns perfectly with the mission and programs of the American Legion Auxiliary,” said ALA National President Nancy Brown-Park. “She exemplifies the best of America’s military, and it is an honor to recognize her as the American Legion Auxiliary 2014 Woman of the Year.”
Established in 1984, the Woman of the Year Award recognizes outstanding women who exemplify the values and ideals of the American Legion Auxiliary, particularly those whose contributions advance the quality of life for America’s military, veterans, and their families. Criteria & Selection
*Given as the "Lifetime Achievement Award"