Col. Sam Johnson is the 21st Space Wing vice commander at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. Organizationally the Air Force's fifth largest wing, it consists of a workforce of almost 4,300 officer, enlisted, civilian and contract employees. This team provides global missile warning, space situational awareness, and space control for combat forces and the national command authorities of the United States and Canada. The wing oversees five geographically separated installations in addition to Peterson AFB -- home to 53 mission partners and a working populous of nearly 10,000 employees.

Col. Johnson is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and was commissioned in 1995. During his career, he has served as crew commander on intercontinental ballistic missile and space surveillance crews. In addition, he previously commanded a squadron, an offensive counter information flight, and has served on group, Numbered Air Force, major command, and Headquarters U.S. Air Force staffs.


Prior to his current position, the colonel was the Chief, Integrated Experiments and Evaluations Division, Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Lab, Kirtland AFB, N.M. He oversaw a 139 member military, civilian and contractor division with a $75 million annual budget responsible for evaluating emerging space technologies and designing, assembling, integrating, testing, and operating advanced space flight experiments to further these technologies.



1995 Bachelor of Science, Astronautical Engineering, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. 

1999 Master of Science, Aerospace Engineering, University of Colorado, Boulder 

2001 Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. 

2002 U.S. Air Force Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev. 

2008 Master of Military Operational Art and Science, Air Command & Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. 

2012 Air War College, correspondence




1. July 1995–February 1996, Student, Undergraduate Space and Missile Training, Peacekeeper Intercontintal Ballistic Missile Initial Qualifying Training, Vandenberg AFB, Calif. 

2. April 1996–March 2000, Instructor Deputy Crew Commander, Standardization & Evaluation Crew Commander, Chief Standardization & Evaluation Procedures, Peacekeeper ICBM, 400th Missile Squadron, 90th Operations Group, Francis E. Warren AFB, Wyo. 

3. March 2000–April 2001, Crew Commander and Chief, Operations Training, 3rd Space Surveillance Squadron, Misawa Air Base, Japan 

4. May 2001–June 2002, Executive Officer, 21st Operations Group, Peterson AFB, Colo. 

5. July 2002–December 2002, Student, USAF Weapons School, Nellis AFB, Nev. 

6. January 2003–January 2004, Commander, Offensive Counter Information Flight, 7th Information Warfare Flight, Osan AB, Korea 

7. February 2004–March 2006, Chief, Weapons and Tactics, Operating Location M, Directorate of Requirements, Headquarters Air Force Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colo. 

8. March 2006–June 2006, Chief, Weapons and Tactics, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, Schriever AFB, Colo. 

9. June 2006–June 2007, Deputy Chief, Advanced Operations Applications Branch, HQ AFSPC, Peterson AFB, Colo. 

10. July 2007–July 2008, Student, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. 

11. July 2008–June 2010, Chief, Space Protection, Space Control Division, Directorate of Operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Arlington, Va. 

12. July 2010–June 2011, Director of Operations, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, Schriever, AFB, Colo. 

13. June 2011–June 2013, Commander, 3rd Space Experimentation Squadron, Schriever AFB, Colo. 

14. June 2013–May 2014, Chief, Senior Leader Management Division, Directorate of Manpower, Personnel and Services, HQ AFSPC, Peterson AFB, Colo. 

15. May 2014–July 2016, Chief, Special Programs, HQ AFSPC; Exercise Director, National Space Defense Center, Peterson AFB, Colo. 

16. August 2016–June 2018, Chief, Integrated Experiments and Evaluations Division, Space Vehicles Directorate, Air Force Research Lab, Kirtland AFB, N.M. 

17. June 2018-present, Vice Commander, 21st Space Wing, Peterson AFB, Colo.


Meritorious Service Medal with six oak leaf clusters

Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf cluster

Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Valor with six devices

Air Force Organizational Excellence Award with two devices

Combat Readiness Medal

Master Space Operations badge



Second Lieutenant May 31, 1995 

First Lieutenant May 31, 1997 

Captain May 31, 1999 

Major Aug. 1, 2005

Lieutenant Colonel July 1, 2010 

Colonel Sept. 1, 2016     


(Current as of August 2018)