TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
From Hispaniola, the Caribbean country of Haiti, to the Americas, one Airman turned leader never expected the huge impact the Air Force would have in his life nor did he expect the people he would encounter.
U.S. Air Force Maj. James Johnson, the new commander of the 325th Communication Squadron, grew up in Haiti until age 12 and is no stranger to battling the socioeconomic challenges and elevated crime rates nearly synonymous with poverty stricken areas.
Johnson, a husband and father of four, met his wife in San Antonio, Texas. Together his family enjoys watching sports, reading, watching movies and spending time with friends and one another.
While growing up, Johnson was immersed in sports, like basketball and football. His love for the sciences and an interest in the human body, though, inspired his dream of one day becoming a doctor.
Johnson credits his hardworking, single mother-of-five with pushing them to pursue higher education, he recalled his mother always telling him, “you will go to school and failure is not an option.”
With his mother’s hard work, her words of encouragement and his own newfound motivation, Johnson graduated from North Miami Senior High School in Miami. He went on to earn an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland University College and a graduate degree from Touro University.
Johnson enlisted in the Air Force as a mental health technician where he grew fond of the job before stumbling into the cyber career field, a field that would guide him for the rest of his career.
While stationed in Japan, Johnson had a mentor turned friend who would have a huge impact in his life.
“I had the pleasure of working with then Senior Master Sgt. Jake Cooper,” Johnson said. “A true professional who unfortunately passed on due to cancer. He taught me the value of mentorship, leadership, proactive engagement, and shaping the environment for others to grow professionally and personally.”
Senior Master Sgt. Cooper focused a lot on the well-being and personal and professional goals of those within his sphere of influence, Johnson added.
“He was responsible for pushing me to accomplish my goal to be an officer,” Johnson said.
Johnson credits the mentors he has had throughout his career with jumpstarting his passion for learning and mentoring others to help discover their potential.
One of his proudest moments, occurring early in his career, was receiving the John L. Levitow Award in Airman Leadership School because of the values the award represents, such as exceptional courage and service before self.
“ALS was the first school where I got exposed to leadership and management skills, where the instructors opened my eyes to recognizing and developing people's talents,” Johnson said. “I quickly grasped the caliber of professionals and the training that makes this Air Force the greatest in the world.”
Johnson went on to describe his personal philosophy and his position of leadership.
“My philosophy is simple,” Johnson said. “God, family, country and education.”
He continued stating that although he is happy with what he has achieved thus far, he did not always see himself becoming a commander.
“In short, I never would have seen myself as a commander,” Johnson said. “However, I've always wanted to be in a position to shape the Air Force future at the squadron level by driving resiliency efforts in our Airmen and giving them the opportunity and the tools to grow, and get the mission done.”
Johnson urges his fellow Airmen to set professional and personal goals and develop a plan of attack.
“Credibility is at the center of anything you want to accomplish and the credibility wheel depends on four spokes: commitment, competence, shared consciousness (teamwork), and innovation,” Johnson said.
In final thoughts Johnson finished with a short slogan, “resiliency plus empowered execution equals mission success!”
For more information about the 325th Communications Squadron click HERE