Lieutenant Colonel Anthony (Tony) Johnson is getting into the moving business … in a big way.
The 48-year-old Cornwall native and Royal Canadian Air Force 16-year veteran has spent the last two years working in the United States as part of NASA’s Human Space Flight Support program. Johnson and his team of U. S Air Force personnel developed a contingency plan to recover astronauts if a space launch or re-entry had to be aborted.
The St. Joseph’s High School graduate, who holds a bachelor of arts degree from Carleton University and Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Royal Roads in Victoria, B.C., spent six of the last eight years working with U.S. military personnel. Prior to that he did two tours in Afghanistan. Johnson’s first exchange tour was with the U.S. Southern Command based in Miami. When he finished the tour the chief of Southern Command awarded him a commendation (rare for a foreign military member) for his work with the Command.
With the second U.S. assignment behind him, Johnson is landing back at 8 Wing Trenton. On Thursday (March 25) he becomes the new commanding officer of 2 Air Movement Squadron. Johnson takes the helm of a squadron that is responsible for moving everything from passengers to freight.
The unit’s motto is “Nunquam non Paratus – Never Unprepared”.
On average, the Trenton-based squadron moves more than 36 million pounds of freight and 42,000 passengers each year. Those are major commercial airport numbers. It transports military equipment and supplies across Canada and where the country’s military is deployed overseas.
“I enjoyed the experience of working with the Americans but it is good to be back in Canada.” he said. “I’m looking forward to my new job.”
Johnson said the foundation for his climb through the ranks was laid right here in Cornwall at the Cornwall Armoury where as a 17-year-old high school student he decided to sign up with the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders’ reserve unit.
The experience whetted his appetite for a military career. A choice he has never regretted.
“The training I received (as a Highlander) was fantastic,” he said. “The command was superb and I learned a lot. It helped make what I am today.”
Married with two children, he is the son of Cornwall defence attorney Don Johnson and the late Linda Johnson. His brother Patrick, a sergeant, who also served in Afghanistan is stationed at Trenton.
LOOKING BACK – 1960
The decision to eliminate the quarter-mile cinder track, once considered one of the finest in Ontario, to make room for the youth arena (Bob Turner Memorial Centre) at the Athletic Grounds could spell the end to the track and field program at Cornwall Collegiate, the school’s physical fitness director John Metcalf said in a letter to the editor on March 22, 1960.
In the 1930s the prestigious Ontario legion track meet was staged at the Athletic Grounds and attracted some of the best track and field athletes in the country.
The school had neither a track nor football field and used the track and field at the Athletic Grounds. The school would get its track and football field years later when the school board acquired several residential properties on the west side of Amelia Street.
ALSO THIS WEEK IN 1960 – Cornwall native Orval Tessier of the Kingston Frontenacs of the Eastern Professional Hockey League (EPHL) set a pro hockey scoring record when he finished the season with 126 points. With the Frontenacs out of the playoffs, Boston Bruins, who owned his pro rights, sent him to Providence Reds of the American Hockey League. Before he left, 1,900 Kingston fans attended an Orval Tessier Appreciation Night. … United Counties Court Judge George Brennan swore in 74 new Canadians. They came from seven European countries with 40 from The Netherlands, nine from Germany and six from Czechoslovakia and Italy. Others were from Poland, Hungary, Norway and Austria. … Winner of the Kinsmen Auto Show car draw was Emile Landriault of 18 Seymour Ave. … Cadet Col. Brian Vooght was named commanding officer of the Cornwall Collegiate cadet corps. Cadet Major Grant Bray was 2CO and Cadet Capt. Peter Morgan was adjutant. Company commanders were John Kibbee, Don Lebano, James Miller, Claude Shaver and John Firn. …. Cornwall Lumbermen turned back Hull Legionnaires 7-4 in an Inter-provincial Senior Hockey League playoff game. Gary Grant, two, George Sinfield, Mink Dewar, Bill Ingram, Bill Quirk and Rheal Savard scored the Cornwall goals. … Tex Montana’s band was playing at the Hotel De Grasse in Massena. He would acquire a club in Massena. It was called the Diamond Horseshoe. Shortly before he purchased the watering hole, Tex and his band had a one-night stand at the Water Street Arena. When he mentioned to the arena manager that he was looking to purchase a nightspot and settle down, the manager recommended he take a look at Massena.
AROUND AND ABOUT The more I watch death row documentaries the more I wonder how many innocent people, particularly blacks, were executed in the United States before DNA testing was perfected not that long ago? … If I were New York Governor Andrew Cuomo I would have been on the telephone to Bill Clinton getting some advice on how to wiggled out of sexual misconduct claims. … Just in case you have been waking up wondering, Cornwall’s best-known scammer Willie Wise is schedule to be released from prison in April 2031. … Brent Gretzky, younger brother of The Great One, became an OPP officer after he finished a pro hockey career that included 13 games NHL games with Tampa Bay Lightning. Together, the brothers chalked up 2,857 NHL points. They are the NHL’s highest-scoring two-brother act. Brent’s contribution? Four points.
TRIVIA Charlebois Beverages bottled this popular, at the time, soft drink – two 30-ounce bottles for 29 cents – at its east Cornwall plant in the 1950s.
TRIVIA ANSWER In March 1969, Eastside Dairy became the first dairy in Cornwall and area to sell milk in plastic bags. The packs of three quart bags were called pitcher-pak bags.
QUOTED – “Let us live so that when we come to die, even the undertaker will be sorry.” – Mark Twain