Mark T. Johnson
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
Marine Aviation Detachment, China Lake
Colonel Johnson, a native of Gary, IN was commissioned in July 1988 through the PLC program after earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University. After graduation from The Basic School, he proceeded to NAS Pensacola to begin Aviation Indoctrination training. He then transferred to NAS Corpus Christi for Primary flight training and moved on to NAS Chase Field in Beeville, TX for Intermediate and Advanced flight training in jet aircraft. He received Naval Aviator wings in September 1992.
In the fall of 1992, First Lieutenant Johnson reported aboard MCAS El Toro, CA for F/A-18 Fleet Replacement Squadron training. Upon completion of F/A-18 qualification, he then checked into Marine Aircraft Group 31 aboard MCAS Beaufort, SC and was assigned to VMFA(AW)-224. He deployed to Aviano AB, Italy and served in support of Operation Deny Flight. Upon return to MCAS Beaufort, Captain Johnson was assigned to VMFA-251 where he deployed aboard USS America to the Mediterranean in support of Operations Deny Flight and Southern Watch. Following initial assignment to MAG-31, Captain Johnson reported for duty as a Forward Air Controller with 3d Battalion 6th Marines at Camp Lejeune, NC. Upon completion of this tour he returned to MAG-31, was assigned to VMFA(AW)-332, and attended United States Navy Fighter Weapons School in June 1998. Major Johnson then deployed to Norway in support of training exercises with MAG-31 and was subsequently assigned to VMFA-115 and deployed to MCAS Iwakuni, Japan serving as Operations Officer and Maintenance Officer.
Following these Fleet Marine Force tours, Major Johnson was selected for USAF Test Pilot School and subsequently assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron THREE ONE (VX-31) as the Military Deputy for Test and Evaluation at the F/A-18 Advanced Weapons Laboratory in China Lake, CA in June 2001. He also served as the project test pilot for Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS)/AIM-9X integration on the F/A-18C-F, Terrain Awareness Warning System (TAWS), and Litening AT targeting pod integration on the F/A-18D.
After detaching from China Lake, Colonel Johnson reported to the Aviation Department at Headquarters Marine Corps in the Pentagon and served as the head of Marine Aviation Budgets. Following his tour at HQMC, Lieutenant Colonel Johnson returned to China Lake to serve as the Chief Test Pilot and Commanding Officer of VX-31. Upon completion of his command tour, LtCol Johnson attended the Industrial College of the Armed Forces in Washington DC, earning a Master of Science degree in National Resource Strategy. Following ICAF, LtCol Johnson moved to NAS Patuxent River and was assigned to the Program Executive Office for the Joint Strike Fighter.