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655th ISRG sergeant retires after 32 years of service

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- The 655th Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group bid farewell to one of its own Saturday, June 10.

Master Sgt. Johnson, a reserve career assistance advisor, retired after 32 years of service between the Army and Air Force.

During her retirement ceremony, Johnson reflected back on her more than three decades of service, the experiences she had, and the people she met along the way.

“I enlisted in the Army under the buddy program with a friend who talked me into it,” she said. “I got to where the bus was to pick us up, but my friend didn’t show. ‘Oh well,’ I thought, I’m already here, might as well go ahead.”

Johnson, who served with the 655th since 2013, enlisted in the Army in April 1985 as an accounting specialist. Her duties included cashier, travel debt collector and reconciliations clerk among other tasks. While on active duty, her assignments included Ft. McClellan, Alabama, Ft. Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, and Karlsruhe, Germany. During this time Johnson completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Information Systems Management.

In July 1991, Johnson joined the Army Reserve in Tuscaloosa, Alabama but was soon recalled back to active duty at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, in support of Operation Desert Storm/Shield. Following this tour in 1992, Johnson joined the Air Force Reserve as a personnel systems technician with the 434th Mission Support Squadron at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana, before transferring to the 445th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron here in 1995.

From 1995 to 2013, Johnson worked in various capacities while serving in the 445th AES and she was also working on her Associate of Applied Science degrees in both Human Recourse Management and Education and Training Management.

Upon her retirement, Johnson received letters of appreciation from former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter.

"Less than 1 percent of the population ever serve in the military and even fewer serve long enough to retire," said Col. John D. McKaye, 655 ISRG commander. "Johnson is indeed in an elite group.”

McKaye concluded his comments by telling Johnson, “Don't ever wonder if you made a difference. You did."