Maj. Gen. Michelle Johnson was the United States Air Force Academy's first female Rhodes Scholar and female cadet wing commander, so it's only fitting that she just became its first ever woman superintendent.
President Barack Obama just nominated Johnson, who is NATO's current deputy chief of staff for operations and intelligence, to run the military academy. She will serve as the Academy’s 19th superintendent.
Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel announced Johnson's appointment earlier this month, and all she has to do next is get approved by the Senate to upgrade to a three-star lieutenant general, which is needed to become superintendent. Johnson would take over for Lt. Gen. Michael Gould, who has led the school since 2009. No word yet on his plans, but given Johnson's strong connection to the Academy, it's safe to say she'll be an excellent replacement.
As a Rhodes Scholar, Johnson obtained a master's in economics and politics at Oxford's Brasenose College. After that, she spent a little more than a year at Williams Air Force Base in Mesa, Ariz., and finished up her three-month C-141 qualification training at Altus Air Force Base in the fall of 1984.
The former Air Force Academy basketball player has logged more than 3,600 hours of flying time and collected many accolades and awards, including the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal, and Air Force Achievement Medal. She was the varsity basketball team's second-highest scorer of all time with 1,706 points and dubbed the Academy's most outstanding scholar-athlete in 1991. She taught political science and was a pilot instructor at the Academy from 1989 to 1992.
Welcome welcome, Gen. Johnson!