Brig. Gen. Wendy Johnson has assumed the top leadership position in the Nebraska Air National Guard, the first woman ever to hold that position.

Johnson took over as Nebraska National Guard assistant adjutant general for air from Brig. Gen. James “Bob” Stevenson at a Saturday ceremony in Lincoln. He had held the job since December. He will become deputy director of operations for joint electromagnetic operations for U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base.

Johnson is originally from Elba, Nebraska. She enlisted in the Nebraska National Guard as an administrative clerk in 1984.

She served with the 155th Combat Support Squadron in Lincoln, according to a Guard press release. Four years later, she was commissioned as an officer upon graduation from the Air National Guard’s Academy of Military Science.

She later earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She went on to earn three master’s degrees.

Johnson has held leadership positions in the Guard at the flight, squadron and group levels, the press release said, and is a former executive officer of the 155th Combat Support Squadron. She deployed to Qatar in 2007-08 in support of Middle East combat operations, one of several overseas deployments.

In April 2016, Johnson became the first female general officer in the history of the Nebraska Air National Guard. Most recently, she had served as the Guard’s assistant adjutant general for joint operations.

“Quite honestly, I didn’t see this coming and never expected to be at this point,” Johnson said in a statement. “However, as leaders we are constantly preparing ourselves to move up to the next level of responsibility when the time comes.”

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