Retired May 1, 1992.
Brigadier General James M. Johnston III is vice commander, 5th Air Force, Yokota Air Base, Japan.
General Johnston was born in 1940, in Stamford, Texas. He graduated from Anton (Texas) High School in 1957 and earned a bachelor of arts degree in retailing and marketing from Texas Technological University in 1962. He completed Air Command and Staff College in 1972, and the National War College in 1982.
He was commissioned as a second lieutenant through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps program in April 1962. The general then was assigned to Webb Air Force Base, Texas, for both primary and basic pilot training in T-37s and T-38s. From May 1963 to February 1964 he underwent advanced fighter training in the F-100 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and then was assigned to the 309th Tactical Fighter Squadron, Homestead Air Force Base, Fla., where he was a pilot and assistant weapons officer.
In August 1965 he became an adviser to the Vietnamese air force and reported to Hurlburt Field, Fla., for A-1 training. From December 1965 to November 1966 he flew more than 400 hours on 231 combat missions over North and South Vietnam. The general then returned to Hurlburt Field and was assigned as an A-1E instructor pilot with the 4409th Tactical Training Squadron. In January 1968 he was assigned to Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., where he served as operations staff officer, Headquarters U.S. Air Force Special Operations Force.
In April 1970 General Johnston was assigned as air officer commanding for the 40th Cadet Squadron, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. He then received F-4 upgrade training at George Air Force Base, Calif., from September 1973 to December 1973. After upgrade training he transferred to Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand, as flight commander of the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. The general was assigned to Royal Air Force Station Bentwaters, England, in August 1974. While there he served as operations officer with the 91st and 92nd Tactical Fighter squadrons, 81st Tactical Fighter Wing.
Upon his return to the United States in April 1977, he was assigned as operations officer with the 335th and 336th Tactical Fighter squadrons, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, N.C. In March 1979 he became commander of the 334th Tactical Fighter Squadron and in December 1980 he was assigned as assistant deputy commander for operations with the 4th Tactical Fighter Wing, both at Seymour Johnson.
General Johnston attended the National War College from August 1981 to June 1982. Upon completion he transferred to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Washington, D.C., where he served eight months as assistant division chief, then a year as chief, Europe North Atlantic Treaty Organization Division, Directorate of Plans. In January 1984 he transferred to Luke Air Force Base as vice commander, 405th Tactical Fighter Wing. He assumed command of the 58th Tactical Training Wing, also at Luke, in May 1984. From September 1985 to October 1986 General Johnston commanded the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. He then was assigned as inspector general, Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Va. In July 1988 he became director of aerospace safety, Headquarters Air Force Inspection and Safety Center, Norton Air Force Base, Calif. He assumed his present position in May 1990.
The general is a command pilot with more than 4,600 flying hours in the F-100, T-39, A-1 H/E, F-4, F-15 and F-16. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with nine oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Vietnam Service Medal with three service stars, and Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm.
He was promoted to brigadier general April 1, 1988, with same date of rank.