U.S. Army Col. Michael S. Johnson assumed command of the 110th Aviation Brigade, U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE), in a ceremony at Howze Field, Fort Rucker, Alabama, June 25, 2021.
"I'm really excited. It's a real honor to come back to Fort Rucker and be part of the command team here," said Johnson. "I'm blessed and humbled."
The 110th’s unique institutional mission is to provide the Army and allied forces with professionally trained aviation and nonrated crew members at the graduate and undergraduate level for AH-64E Apache, CH-47F Chinook, UH-60A/L/M Blackhawk, and UH-72 Lakota helicopter students. It manages air traffic services for all USAACE aviation training at 5 base fields, 16 stage fields, and 66 remote training sites spanning over 32,000 square miles of training space. It also provides crash rescue and air ambulance support to USAACE and surrounding communities, serves as the Army’s Night Vision Device Training and Operations Staff Agency, and operates the Army’s most extensive radar approach control system.
“The scale of what this brigade does is absolutely staggering,” said Maj. Gen. David J. Francis, USAACE and Fort Rucker commander. The brigade executes "31 programs of instruction, training over 9,000 students amassing over 370,000 flight hours ... almost a quarter of the total flight hours of our entire Army (last year)".
Johnson was commissioned in 1997 from the University of California, Berkeley ROTC program, where he earned a B.A. in History. He holds a Masters of Public Administration from Harvard, a Masters of Military Arts from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Johnson is a Senior Army Aviation and Instructor Pilot, with over 1500 hours in AH-64A/D/E Apache helicopters, earning the Air Medal, Bronze Star Medal, and Combat Action Badge through deployments to Iraq in 2009 and Afghanistan in 2002 and 2012. His assignments include command of the 1st Battalion, 114th Aviation Regiment at Rucker, and serving in the Army G-3/5/7 War Plans Division.
"We've got to focus on safety. The brigade has a phenomenal record, but that's something we've got to do every day," said Johnson. "I want to be able to send out aviators ... that are thinking aviators. Folks that take the time to understand what they are doing, and can think (problems) through, assess what’s happening, and then act accordingly."