Johnson assumes command of 56th Aerial Port Squadron

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(U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Russell S. McMillan)

The 56th Aerial Port Squadron held an Assumption of Command ceremony at the Cultural Resource Center here on Saturday, Aug. 22, 2015.

During the ceremony Col. Timothy McCoy, commander, 452nd Mission Support Group, March Air Reserve Base, passed the guidon to Maj. Mark E. Johnson, who accepted as the new 56 APS commander.

“When we were looking for somebody to take over the 56th APS the list was pretty short,” McCoy explained when referring to Johnson’s leadership attributes. “We [were] looking for somebody who is a leader, an innovator and good tempered.”

McCoy also noted the diverse experience Johnson acquired, with White House support missions, Army exercises and various deployments.

Johnson has served nearly 20 years in the military, including the California Air National Guard and most recently with the Air Force Reserve as the operations officer for the 452nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, March ARB. He has deployed in support of operations SOUTHERN WATCH, NORTHERN WATCH, ALLIED FORCE, NOBLE EAGLE, and ENDURING FREEDOM.

When it was Johnson’s turn to speak, he emphasized the challenges Airmen today face on many fronts such as continued unrest in eastern Europe, issues in the pacific and sequestration domestically. He also explained the resource he believed that would overcome current and future trials.

“Our most valuable asset in the Air Force is…the Airmen who accomplish the mission,” Johnson said. “Those Airmen are all of you.”

Johnson highlighted leadership as being critical for accomplishing the core missions of the U.S. Air Force: air and space superiority, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, rapid global mobility, global strike and command and control. He thanked the Airmen in the audience for allowing him the opportunity to lead as their squadron commander and communicated his goal of fostering an environment of leadership and proper fiscal management.

“I am very confident that [Maj. Johnson] is the right officer at the right time for this job,” said McCoy.

Johnson’s appointment as commander of the 56 APS was effective Aug. 12, 2015.