Operations Group changes hands

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  • 71st Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

VANCE AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. – Col. Paul Johnson assumed command of the 71st Operations Group from Col. John Cinnamon during a ceremony June 13 in Hangar 170.

The 71st Flying Training Wing commander, Col. Clark Quinn, was the officiating officer for the ceremony.

Johnson joins Team Vance after a tour at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, where he was the director of the Pacific Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center.

Cinnamon leaves the 71st OG for a position at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he will become a permanent professor and head of the Department of Aeronautics.

“To the men and women of the Ops Group, I can’t underestimate the importance of what you are doing here day in and day out at this time in our nation’s history,” said Johnson.

“To say that there is a crisis in pilot manning is an understatement in today’s Air Force. I saw that as the deputy OG in Kadena (Air Base, Okinawa, Japan) and I saw that (at Hickam) there were not enough pilots to do the work or, frankly, to get the mission done.

“So I expect to see an increase in pilot production during our two-year tenure here,” he said. “That’s going to happen, but it will happen without additional resources. So we are going to have to find a way to do it safely,” Johnson said.

Johnson commissioned in 1992 and is a command pilot with more than 3,300 hours in the T-38, T37, B-1B and the F-15C.

His decorations include a Defense Meritorious Service Medal, a Meritorious Service Medal with five oak leaf clusters, an Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters, an Air Force commendation medal with one oak leaf cluster and an Air Force Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster.

Johnson holds two master’s degrees -- one in Science in Systems Engineering from the Air Force Institute of Technology in Ohio and another in Arts and Humanities from California State University.

He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from San Diego State University in California.