Navy Adm. Jay L. Johnson, the 26th chief of Naval Operations (CNO), will retire on July 21, 2000, at the U.S. Naval Academy, in Annapolis, Md., where his distinguished career began 36 years ago as a midshipman.
"In every case -- whether he was out at sea, in a port, at the Pentagon, on Capitol Hill, or in the White House --Admiral Jay Johnson has provided leadership characterized by consistency, by candor, by optimism, and by insight," remarked Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen. "And he has managed all of those competing claims on the Navy's time and resources with a very rare combination of energy and finesse. But more than anything else, he did it with a genuine concern for the well-being of the men and women under his watch."
"Jay Johnson's enviable career as a war fighter was matched only by the important battles he fought as CNO," said Secretary of the Navy Richard Danzig. "In both cases, his deep caring for the well-being of our sailors and an intimate understanding for the demands of their service has been the legacy of his leadership."
Born in Great Falls, Mont., in 1946, and raised in West Salem, Wis., Johnson graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1968. Upon completion of flight training, he was designated a Naval aviator in 1969. His first sea duty tour was aboard the USS Oriskany, where he made two combat cruises flying the F-8J Crusader with Fighter Squadron (VF) 191. Subsequent squadron and sea duty tours after transitioning to the F-14 Tomcat included assignments with VF-142 and VF-101; commanding officer of VF-84; commander, Carrier Air Wing One; assistant chief of staff for Operations for commander, Sixth Fleet; and commander, Carrier Air Wing One as senior air wing commander.
His shore duty assignments included tours as aviation junior officer detailer; a student at the Armed Forces Staff College; head, Aviation Junior Officer Assignment Branch; and with the Chief of Naval Operations Strategic Studies Group. His first flag officer assignment was as assistant chief of Naval Personnel for Distribution at the Bureau of Naval Personnel.
In October 1992, Johnson reported as commander, Carrier Group Eight and commander, USS Theodore Roosevelt Battle Group. In July 1994, he was assigned as commander, Second Fleet serving simultaneously as commander, Striking Fleet Atlantic and commander, Joint Task Force 120.
In March 1996, Johnson reported for duty as the 28th vice chief of Naval Operations in Washington, D.C. He assumed duties as the 26th chief of Naval Operations in August 1996. As chief of Naval Operations, Johnson is the senior uniformed leader of the Navy. He is responsible for organizing, training, equipping, preparing, and maintaining the readiness of the Naval forces. He is the Navy's representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and as such is the principal Navy advisor to the chairman.
Johnson will be relieved as CNO by Navy Adm. Vern Clark. Clark's previous assignment was as commander-in-chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Va. Clark was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and was raised in the Midwestern states of Nebraska, Missouri and Illinois. Clark received his undergraduate degree from Evangel College in Springfield, Mo., and then received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Arkansas. Following graduation, he entered Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I., and was commissioned in August 1968.