Army Brig. Gen. Ted Johnson, of Rapid City, retired this weekend after more than 35 years of military service to the state and nation. Johnson retired as the director of the joint staff for the South Dakota National Guard and held numerous key leadership positions throughout the years. Johnson was honored for his service during a retirement ceremony Jan. 11 at the Joint Force Headquarters on Camp Rapid.
As director of the joint staff, Johnson, 60, served as the top coordinating staff officer of both the South Dakota Army and Air National Guard. He assisted in preparing the more than 4,300 members of the Army and Air National Guard, and more than 960 full-time federal and state employees, to respond in times of state emergencies or national defense.
Johnson helped direct the Guard through the largest call up of SDNG forces since World War II, where more than 7,200 Soldiers in Airmen deployed over the last decade in support of the Global War on Terror. His leadership, enforcement of standards and emphasis on readiness contributed to the successful mobilization of SDNG units and personnel during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Johnson's leadership and management of the joint staff and the employees of the SDNG ensured that units were properly manned, trained and equipped to go to war. He also impacted the long-term readiness and professionalism of the organization.
"General Johnson's high standards, superior intellect, professionalism and dedication to duty have directly contributed to the South Dakota National Guard being held in such high esteem for many years," said Maj. Gen. Tim Reisch, the adjutant general of the SDNG. "His historical knowledge of the South Dakota National Guard is unparalleled by anyone in our great organization and he will be sorely missed."
Johnson, a native of Pipestone, Minn., began his long and distinguished career in April of 1972, where he enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard. He joined the SDNG in 1984 and received his commission as a second lieutenant from the South Dakota Military Academy's Officer Candidate School in 1985. In 1988, he was hired as a full-time federal technician.
Johnson held numerous leadership and staff positions within SDNG units. He commanded both the 211th and 214th Engineer Companies, as well as the 82nd Civil Support Team, and served in the 842nd Engineer Company, 109th Engineer Battalion, 88th Troop Command and Joint Force Headquarters. He was appointed to the rank of brigadier general on Oct. 1, 2007.
A notable highlight in Johnson's career was being the first and only general officer in the history of the SDNG to command a unit in combat; commanding the 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from 2010 to 2011 in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Johnson also served in many full-time positions in the SDNG to include state public affairs officer, director of military support to civil authorities, director of human resources, deputy chief of staff of operations and joint chief of staff.
"The highlight of my career was working with all the great Soldiers and Airmen in the South Dakota National Guard," said Johnson, during the ceremony.
Some of Johnson's decorations and service medals include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal and the North Atlantic Treaty Organizational Medal.
Johnson was born on Aug. 3, 1953, in Pipestone to the late Donald and Betty Johnson, and his family includes seven brothers and sisters. His father served in the Pacific during World War II.
Johnson graduated from Pipestone High School and attended Saint Cloud State University where he received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Geography. In 1999, he received his Masters of Science in Public Administration from the University of South Dakota. In 2005, General Johnson received a Master's Degree in Strategic Studies from the United States Army War College.
He is married to LuAnne Johnson and their family includes children Jess, Matt, Kari Jo, Katie, Katie Marie and Nikki. Their family has grown to include many spouses and grandchildren.