A native of College Park, Georgia, Capt. Mark Johnson graduated with honors in mechanical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1992. He was designated a naval aviator in November 1995.
Johnson first flew search and rescue missions in the UH-1N Huey helicopter while stationed at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi. Following training at Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSL) 41, he transferred to HSL-37 at NAS Barbers Point in October 1996. While flying the SH-60B, he deployed twice to the Arabian Gulf aboard USS Chosin (CG-65) and aboard USS Fletcher (DD-992). He also served as the squadron assistant training, Naval Air Training and Operating Procedures Standardization (NATOPS) and quality assurance officer during this tour.
Johnson was selected for the Naval Post-Graduate School/Test Pilot School Program in September 1999. He completed a year of academic work at the Post-Graduate School in Monterey, California, and graduated from the U.S. Navy Test Pilot School in June 2002, receiving a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. He then worked as an engineering test pilot and served as the MH-60R deputy test director – surface warfare.
From September 2004 through January 2007, Johnson was attached to HSL-49 in San Diego flying the SH-60B. As detachment officer-in-charge he deployed to the Arabian Gulf aboard USS McCambell (DDG-85). Upon return from deployment he served as squadron maintenance officer and was selected as HSL-49 Officer of the Year for 2006.
Johnson reported to Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River, Maryland in February 2007 and served as the assistant program manager for test and evaluation in the H-60 program office, where he directed all test and evaluation activities, valued over $150 million, including Link-16, IFF Mode 5, FLIR upgrades, and numerous other capabilities for both MH-60R and MH-60S.
He then served as the executive and commanding officer of the world famous “Wolf Pack” of HSL-45 in San Diego where he led the squadron through transitioning from operating the SH-60B to the MH-60R aircraft, while becoming HSM-75.
In 2011, he returned to NAVAIR and co-led the MH-60R integrated program team, where he was responsible for a program of record of 291 aircraft with a total acquisition cost of $14.2 million. Most recently he served as the chief of staff for the Assistant Commander for Acquisition (NAVAIR-1.0).
Johnson has approximately 3000 flight hours in numerous types of rotary and fixed wing aircraft. His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal with two gold stars, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with two gold stars, and Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with gold star.