Jim Johnson returns to AEDC to share unique experience

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Retired Air Force colonel and former Sverdrup director, Jim Johnson, visited Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) recently to share his experiences with more than 30 people in the AEDC Chapel. Johnson gave a presentation covering highlights of his three-week study in Israel in January.

Since his final retirement in 2002, Johnson and his wife Fran have traveled on several cruises to many European ports and other continents, including Africa and South America. So, packing his bags to go on another trip in late December 2007 wasn't a strange concept to Johnson.

His son-in-law Tom Cole, a Master of Divinity student at the Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., invited Johnson to join him and a group of professors and seminary students from Southern and other seminaries on a study in Israel.

Without hesitation Johnson gladly agreed and on Dec. 30, 2007, began the journey; attending class, studying scripture and Biblical maps, walking many miles, and climbing many high places, while seeing one of the most historical places on Earth.

"Although I grew up attending Sunday school and church and have studied the Bible over the years; actually being where Biblical events occurred, and walking where the characters of the Bible walked, has made the truth of the scriptures more real and meaningful to me than they ever were, he said. "I have come to better understand how God used the location and the environment of the Bible lands to communicate the truth of His Word to mankind."

The main goal of the three-week study, conducted by Jerusalem University College, was to engage in an intense study of the region including geography, geology and archeology as related to Biblical events and locations.

"It amazed me to learn how geography, geology, and even the weather impacted and influenced the historical events in Bible lands."

Johnson took almost 2,000 pictures in Israel and has shared the best in his presentation with senior citizen groups, local churches, AEDC and is willing to show anyone who is interested in learning more about Israel and the Bible.

In 1974 Johnson came to AEDC as a major in the Air Force in plans and programs. In the latter half of his six-year stint at AEDC, Johnson served as Air Force director of the Engine Test Facility.

After his promotion to colonel, he was assigned to the Air force Wright Aeronautical Laboratories at Wright-Patterson AFB, initially heading up the Ramjet Division and later serving as Director of the Aeropulsion Laboratory. Johnson retired from the Air Force in 1986.

Johnson returned to AEDC to work for Calspan, one of the then three prime contractors at AEDC. He later worked for Sverdrup as the director of Space and Missile Systems until he retired in 2002.