WEST COUNTY -- Crofton * Odenton * Fort Meade * Gambrills


Fort Meade commander retires today

The commanding general of Fort Meade and the 1st U.S. Army is retiring today after 33 years of military service that included tours in Vietnam and Germany.

Before coming to Fort Meade in May 1991, Lt. Gen. James H. Johnson Jr., 55, led the 82nd Airborne Division in combat during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf war.

Taking over for General Johnson is Lt. Gen. John P. Otjen, a 29-year career military man who graduated from West Point and was most recently deputy inspector general for inspections, training and automation for the office of the secretary of the Army.

First U.S. Army is made up of more than 323,000 reserve and National Guard troops deployed in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

The ceremony for General Johnson is set for 10:30 a.m. today at McGlachlin Field at Fort Meade and is open to the public. The general and his wife, Edna, will have another retirement ceremony Thursday at Fort Bragg, N.C., home of the 82nd Airborne Division. The couple plans to live in Sarasota, Fla.

General Johnson is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., and holds a master's degree in public administration from Shippensburg State College in Pennsylvania. The general has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

General Otjen holds a master of business administration degree from the University of Wisconsin. He served in Europe for 10 years and in Vietnam and Korea. He has been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star and the combat infantryman's badge. He also has been decorated for service by the German and French armies and the Republic of Vietnam.

The general and his wife, Ann, have three children, Thomas, Michael and Sarah.

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