Ballston Lake resident Michael Johnson takes "Final Flight" as an Army Nation National Guard helicopter pilot

Iraq War Vetern is leaving the Army after 35 years of service

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LATHAM, NY (01/26/2018) New York Army National Guard Chief Warrant Officer 5 Michael Johnson, an Army helicopter pilot and a Ballston Lake resident, took his "Final Flight" on Thursday, Jan. 25, as he prepared to wrap up a 35 year military career.

Retiring military pilots traditionally take a last ceremonial flight before wrapping up their military career.

Upon returning to the New York National Guard's Army Aviation Support Facility in Latham, Johnson was greeted by family and fellow service members, including Major General Raymond Shields, the commander of the New York Army National Guard.

Johnson is currently assigned to the Headquarters of the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade in Latham, N.Y.

Johnson, who enlisted in the Army in 1982, is a veteran of the Iraq War and also took part in the invasion of Grenada-Operation Urgent Fury-in 1983 as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division.

Johnson served in the 82nd Airborne Division as an enlisted Soldier from 1983 to 1987. In 1987 he became a helicopter pilot. He served in the Army's 1st Infantry Division, 17th Aviation Brigade and the 10th Mountain Division, before joining the New York Army National Guard in 1994.

During his time in the Active Army, Johnson served in Panama, Germany, and Korea. Since joining the New York Army National Guard he has deployed to Bosnia, Honduras, Iraq and Kuwait.

Johnson was part of a New York Army National Guard aviation task force which was sent to the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and also was part of the New York National Guard response to Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy here in New York.

During his career Johnson has flown the UH-1 "Huey" helicopter, the AH-1 "Cobra" helicopter gunship, the UH-60 "Blackhawk", the UH-72 "Lakota" and the C-12 airplane.

He has served as an instructor pilot and a maintenance test pilot.

Johnson is a graduate of Norwich, N.Y. High School and he holds a Bachelor's of Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

He is a graduate of Army Airborne School, and the Warrant Officer Senior Staff Course.

His military awards include Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, the Army Achievement Medal, the Korean Service Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, NATO Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Master Army Aviator Badge and the Parachutist Badge.

Johnson and his wife Stacey have four adult children-Tierney, Amanda, Bailee, and Zachary-and a grandson, Gabriel.