United States Air Force Academy

Go to home page

Academy superintendent takes ‘final flight’

Gen. Johnson Final

Story by Ray Bowden/July 21, 2017; photo by Darcie Ibidapo

The skies over Colorado Springs were crystal clear clouds when the Air Force Academy’s top-officer made her “final flight” July 17 in a TG-16 glider.

It’s tradition in Air Force pilot’s circles for commanders to take a celebratory final flight into the wild blue yonder before retiring from active duty. Johnson is scheduled to retire later this year after turning-over command of the Academy to Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria Aug. 11.

Johnson’s flight touched down just before 9:30 a.m. She was greeted by the applause of the crowd who gathered on the flightline to watch the flight. She seemed to be at a loss for words, even when her two teenage sons sprayed her with water.

“Thank you all so much for coming out today,” she said. “It means a lot to have you here and I thank you so much for all those amazing things you do here for our Air Force and our cadets.”

Cadet 1st Class Kaitlyn Brown, a cadet pilot instructor, said she was honored to have been selected by Johnson and considers the event to be the general’s way of passing the torch.

“For her, I think, getting her start at the Academy and getting to end it here in a glider ride with a cadet, there’s no better way to do it,” Brown said.