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Event Information: Mark Johnson

Meet Mark Johnson

A Brookline native, Mark Johnson entered the United States Military Academy at West Point within a month of graduating from Brookline High School. Although his father, grandfather, and other extended family members had served in the Army, Johnson did not consider any of this when choosing colleges as a senior. “I was drawn to attending the United States Military Academy because of a desire to serve our country,” Johnson says.

Johnson graduated from West Point in 1985, and went on to serve over 27 years of active duty in the Army as a commissioned officer, earn three master’s degrees, and graduate from both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army War Colleges. Throughout his military career, he supported national operations in the Cold War, the Global War on Terrorism, and the Republic of Korea. He became Airborne and Air Assault qualified, rose to the rank of Colonel, and served as Battalion Commander, leading an Army Field Artillery unit of over 600 Soldiers in combat in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. His mission was to provide rocket and missile fires for both Army and Marine Corps units across the entire Iraq theatre of operations. For this, Johnson earned the Bronze Star Medal.

For all of the achievements and accolades Johnson has to show for his service in the Army, what he most values is the appreciation he gained for the world. He has lived on three different continents, visited 48 of 50 states, and served alongside other branches of the military, as well as military members of allies and coalition partners.

The Boston Marathon has been a staple tradition for Johnson his whole life. Growing up in Brookline Village, Johnson would cheer on runners every Patriots’ Day at Coolidge Corner. This tradition deviated only in the years where he also attended the Red Sox game - then dutifully cheered in Kenmore Square.

Running has been an intrinsic part of Johnson’s entire military career, both as a requirement and as a passion, and remained a part of his life after his retirement from the Army in 2012. Ironically, Johnson was registered for the B.A.A. Distance Medley prior to his participation in the Military Relay, and will be running the B.A.A. 5K two days before he runs the Brookline leg of the relay.

Johnson will run through his hometown of Brookline on April 16 to give back to the community that he loves. “I would like to demonstrate a legacy of service beyond self that those who influenced me growing up demonstrated through their own service not only while in uniform, but in the community subsequent to their own military service.

B.A.A. Moment

Mark Johnson

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