UC graduate student and UC ROTC Army cadet Terry Johnson of Hebron, Ky., was a college freshman at Thomas More College when he first wanted to enlist in the Army. He remembers that he was in chemistry class when he received the news that the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York were struck in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. “I wanted to get involved and do something, and I told my mom that I was joining the military. But my mom (a Navy veteran) wanted me to finish my commitment on my degree.”
Johnson earned his baccalaureate degree in communications from Thomas More College in August, 2005 and was sworn in to the military that September.
Johnson’s service took him on a 15-month tour in and around Baghdad from September 2007 to December 2008, where he served as an interrogator with the 525 Military Intelligence Brigade that was based in Ft. Bragg, N.C. He says the nature of his service provided opportunities to work with multiple branches of the U.S. military as well as with some of the most highly trained interpreters.
It was his military background that led him into his criminal justice master’s program, and Johnson says he knew there was only one destination where he wanted to pursue his graduate degree. “UC was the only program I applied to,” he says. “It was an easy choice. My parents still lived here, and I still had friends and acquaintances from the area.”
Johnson says he waived his G.I. benefits to pay off his undergraduate college loan but kept his military entitlements from serving as a sergeant in the Army. He was also awarded a University Graduate Scholarship from UC to pursue his master’s degree. When he completes his degree and the ROTC program in March, he’ll be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army and will be assigned duties as a field artillery officer.
A graduate of Conner High School in Hebron, Ky., Johnson is also a married father of two, with a baby girl due in January. He first met his wife, Elise, when they were juniors in high school, back when he played basketball for Conner High School and she played volleyball for Walton-Verona High School. They’re parents to 6-year-old Zachary and 10-month-old Langston.
On his graduation, Johnson will continue to follow a family tradition of military service. His mother and grandfather are veterans. He adds that he feels his former service as a non-commissioned officer will build on his aspirations to be a good military leader, as he becomes an officer through the ROTC Army program.