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Thursday, October 4, 2001

Vice Adm. Johnson chosen
to head forces in Europe

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has chosen Vice Adm. Gregory G. Johnson to be the new commander-in-chief of U.S. Navy Europe and Allied Forces Southern Europe. Congress recently confirmed the nomination.

Johnson will move to the rank of admiral. He currently commands the U.S. Navy 6th Fleet from Gaeta, Italy, and NATO’s Striking and Support Forces Southern Europe.

The Defense Department announcement came after news the president had nominated Adm. James O. Ellis to leave the two Europe positions to take the reins of STRATCOM, the nuclear weapons and strategy command based at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb.

Like Ellis, Johnson is a decorated aviator. He studied political science at the University of Maine and, following graduation, attended Aviation Officer Candidacy School. He was commissioned in 1969 and was designated a naval aviator the following year. Johnson subsequently served on several aircraft carriers.

Johnson’s flying career began in the A-7E Corsair II, with a squadron deployed aboard the USS Independence.

He later served with squadrons aboard the USS Nimitz. He commanded air squadron VA-105 aboard the USS Forrestal and commanded Carrier Air Wing Three aboard the USS Eisenhower.

His shore assignments include a command and staff course at the Naval War College, where he graduated with highest distinction. He later served with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the staff of the naval air force commander of the Atlantic Fleet and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He moved to flag rank in 1995, when he became director of operations, plans and policy for the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The following year, he served as commander of Carrier Group 8/USS Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group.

In 1997, he served as senior military assistant to the deputy secretary of defense. He remained in the Pentagon for his most recent stateside assignment, serving as senior military assistant to the secretary of defense.

The Defense Department also announced Johnson’s replacement, Vice Adm. Scott A. Fry. He currently serves as director of operations (J-3) of the Joint Staff.

The Naval Academy graduate commanded the USS McCloy in 1983, and served at the U.S. Naval Academy as executive assistant to the superintendent.

Fry left that post to command the USS Conolly. He next served in Washington, D.C., as executive assistant to the assistant secretary of the Navy. In 1992, Fry took command of Destroyer Squadron 32.

Fry served in 1993 as executive assistant to the commander-in-chief of U.S. Navy Europe and AFSouth.

From 1995 to 1997, Fry served as deputy director for strategy and policy on the Joint Staff.

A 6th Fleet spokesman said he had no information on potential change-of-command dates.

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