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Woman At Helm Of Air Force Academy Has Iowa Roots
CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (KGAN/KFXA) - An Iowa native is leading the way for women in the Air Force. Earlier this year, Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson became the first female superintendent of the US Air Force Academy.
It was on a farm in Iowa that Johnson first dreamed of greatness.
I used to go in a, you know, lowa buildings on a farm like the hog house if you will or low barns where my dog and I could climb to the top and we could see the horizon of the earth out there and I said man that's a big world out there I'd like to get out in there and see what I can do, Johnson said.
What she does is do things well. Johnson excelled in both track and basketball. She remains the Air Force Academys second leading scorer. She was also a Rhodes Scholar and when she signed up for the academy in the late 1970's, her class was only 12 percent female. It was also the second class ever to include women, a challenge she welcomed.
It was a time of great change in our nation. And in these kinds of institutions people couldn't imagine the mix, Johnson said.
But, she found success despite adversity. She became the first female wing commander in the Air Force.
Earlier this year, she topped even that feat. More than three decades after she first entered the academy, she took the helm at the Academy. In her role, shes keen on fighting sexual harassment in the Air Force.
It's hurtful. All of our leadership in the Air Force has said how hurtful that is. It's not right. We can't have it, Johnson said.
Last year alone, up to 26,000 military members reported being sexually assaulted.
When you cross those boundaries, there's a human cost to that. There's a lifetime human cost on both parties and that's what we need to be aware of.
Its a passion for the woman from Iowa who is now in charge of 4,000 cadets, nearly a quarter of them, women.