NewYork Air National Guard Commander Retiring After 41 Years of Service

Major General Verle Johnston, a Schenectady resident, commanded the 105th Airlift wing and served in the 109th Airlift Wing

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Major General Verle Johnston

LATHAM, NY (06/11/2015)(readMedia)-- Major General Verle Johnston, the commander of the New York Air National Guard, a Schenectady resident, and former commander of the 105th Airlift Wing in Newburgh, will relinquish command on Friday afternoon, June 12 after 41 years of service.

He officially retires at the end of the month.

Johnston has served as commander of the 5,900-member New York Air National Guard since 2012. During his command the New York Air Guard completed the transition from flying C-5 cargo aircraft to flying the C-17, and began transitioning one of its airlift wings from flying the C-130 Hercules to operating MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft.

Brig. Gen. Anthony German, the Chief of Staff of the New York Air National Guard and former commander of the 109th Airlift Wing, will take Johnston's place. A formal change of command ceremony will be held later this month.

The New York Air National Guard, with five flying wings and the Eastern Air Defense Sector, which is responsible for coordinating air defense of the eastern United States, is the largest of the 54 state and territorial Air National Guard's.

Johnston is a command pilot with more than 7,500 hours of flight time in a variety of aircraft, including the C-130 Hercules, the C-5A, and the C-17.

Johnston began his military career in 1974 after being commissioned through the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. He initially served with the 41st Air Refueling Heavy Squadron at Griffiss Air Force Base, Rome. In 1981 he joined the New York Air National Guard, flying C130 Aircraft at the 109th Airlift Wing, based at Stratton Air National Guard Base, Scotia.

Johnston served with the 109th Airlift Wing in a variety of leadership positions through 2006, when he served as the Vice Commander of the 109th.

In 2006 he was named assistant to the Wing Commander of the 105th Airlift Wing at Stewart Air National Guard Base in Newburgh. He took command of the wing in 2007, was promoted to brigadier general, and served as the commander of the 105th until 2012.

During this time the 105th Airlift Wing transition away from flying the C-5A Galaxy cargo plane--the largest in the U.S. Air Force-to the C-17 Globemaster III, a smaller but more versatile cargo aircraft.

He assumed command of the New York Air National Guard in April 2012 and was promoted to Major General in June 2012.

Johnston holds a Bachelors of Science Degree from the Air Force Academy and a Masters of Business Administration from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. He also holds a Doctor of Law degree from Albany Law School.

He is a graduate of the Air Command and Staff College and the Air War College.

Johnston's awards include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Medal, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Antarctica Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the National Defense Service Ribbon.

He is married to Ada Johnston, a retired New York Air National Guard Colonel, and they have two adult children: Mary Alice Johnston, a Major in the Air Force, and Joseph Johnston.

Johnson's retirement ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. on Friday, June 12 at Division of Military and Naval Affairs Headquarters. Members of the press who wish to attend should contact the Division of Military and Naval Affairs Public Affairs Office at 518-786-4581.