By Lawrence StevensNovember 24, 2009
FORT McPHERSON, Ga. (Nov. 24, 2009) - The Army bid an official farewell here today to Maj. Gen. Jerome Johnson in recognition of his 36 years of dedicated service.
His retirement ceremony was held at the headquarters of the Army's largest command, Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), where he had been the deputy chief of staff G-4 (equivalent to a large civilian corporation senior vice president for logistics) since June 2007.
"I've enjoyed my service to my country and the camaraderie of being in the military, and I'll miss being with Soldiers," he said, noting, "I had planned several times over my career to get out, but working with Soldiers kept me in. My greatest satisfaction has come when years later a Soldier would come up to me and say, "Sir, you told me you believed I had what it took, so I gave it a shot. And I just want to thank you.'"
A native of Sylvania, Ga., Maj. Gen. Johnson began his Army career in 1973 when he was commissioned a second lieutenant of Ordnance upon his graduation from the Reserve Officers Training Corps at Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Ga. In addition to the BA in Business Administration he received there, Johnson earned his Master of Business Administration from Syracuse University in 1982. A member of the scholastic honor society Phi Beta Kappa, he graduated cum laude and as salutatorian at both institutions.
Over his years in the Army, Johnson served in a variety of staff, field and command assignments around the United States and in Germany and Korea. In recent years he was instrumental in the transformation and restructuring of many logistics processes that resulted in the creation of the Army Field Support Brigades, the left-behind equipment program, the Army Contract Command and the Army Sustainment Command.
As the FORSCOM Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Maj. Gen. Johnson had responsibility for all logistical support, policy and readiness within FORSCOM in support of more than 800,000 active and reserve Soldiers and 40,000 Department of the Army civilians. His logistical responsibilities in support of the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) process included ensuring FORSCOM formations were properly reset and equipped for stateside training as well as operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo and lesser engagement areas worldwide.
Other command positions he had held included a maintenance company at the Army Infantry Center, Fort Benning, Ga.; the 227th Maintenance Battalion, Eighth U.S. Army, Korea; the 29th Support Group, 21st Theater Army Area Command, Germany; and the Army War Reserve Support Command, Rock Island Arsenal, Rock Island, Ill. He was also commanding general of the new Army Sustainment Command in Rock Island, which had been the Army Field Support Command.
His staff assignments included personnel distribution officer at the Total Army Personnel Command in Alexandria, Va.; chief of the Finance Management Office and the executive officer with the 21st Support command in Germany; program analyst and logistics staff officer for the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics in Washington, D.C.; chief of staff and deputy commander with the 3rd Corps Support Command in Germany; and executive officer to the command general of U.S. Army Materiel Command.
The general's military education included the Ordnance basic and advanced courses, Command and General Staff College and a Senior Service College Fellowship at the School of Advanced Military Studies.
Johnson's awards and decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Staff Identification Badge.
"I've seen the Army grow and evolve over the past 30 plus years, and the professionalism of the entire all-volunteer Army has gotten better and better," he said, adding that the young officers and Soldiers today, including his son Anthony, who recently received his Army commission, are "unbelievably good - better educated, better trained, more focused on executing the mission and taking care of those who have to execute the mission. . . . They are the greatest bargain this country has."
Maj. Gen. Johnson and his wife Doris, whom he met at and married right after graduating from Fort Valley State University, plan to retire to the Washington, D.C., area, where he will join Honeywell Technical Solutions as vice president for operations and logistics.