By Timothy L. Hale
| U.S. Army Reserve Command | April 26, 2019
Ronald Johnson, the U.S. Army Reserve Command deputy Inspector General, was recently named the 2018 Department of the Army Civilian IG of the Year. Johnson, a retired colonel and infantry officer, has been serving in his current position since 2011. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Timothy L. Hale/U.S. Army Reserve Command) (Photo by Timothy Hale)
Ronald Johnson, the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) Deputy Inspector General, was named the 2018 Department of the Army Civilian IG at a recent ceremony held at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
Johnson, a retired infantry officer, has been serving at USARC since 2011. U.S. Army Reserve senior leaders have hailed him as the “go-to” individual in coaching and mentoring more than 250 subordinate field IGs located in more than 50 IG offices throughout the continental United States.
Johnson was selected as the top Army Reserve civilian IG winner along with winners from the active Army and Army National Guard.
“I was not at all surprised to learn that Mr. Johnson was selected as the Army Civilian IG of the Year,” said Maj. Gen. Kate Leahy, 108th Training Command (IET) commanding general.
“I've had the pleasure of working with Ron twice as an IG; first at the 81st Regional Support Command (now 81st Readiness Division), and later when he was selected as the USARC Deputy Inspector General.
“Ron's dedication to the IG missions of teaching and training, conducting inspections and investigations, and assisting Soldiers is unparalleled. He's a total professional, who puts advising his commander, mentoring and coaching Soldiers and (Department of the Army) civilians, and improving the readiness of the Army Reserve at the forefront,” she said.
Johnson is humble in acknowledging the accolades.
“It’s a good feeling to be recognized by my peers as the Army Civilian IG of the Year because I accept the award on behalf of my other 287 Army Reserve Inspector Generals. We have over 45 field IG offices, but there is only one ‘IG Team’ in the Army Reserve,” Johnson said.
“We are all part of that team led by USARC’s outstanding Command IG, Col. David Sonnek. I learn something new from my IG teammates with this office, in the field, at FORSCOM (U.S. Army Forces Command), and the DAIG (Department of the Army IG).”
Johnson, a native of Stedman, North Carolina – a “one red light town,” is the ninth child of 13; five of them have served in the military including him. Of his seven other brothers and five sisters, three of his brothers have served in the Army, Marine Corps, and Army National Guard and one sister served in the Air Force. Throughout his own military career, Johnson has served in a number of leadership capacities from company through division.
In 1996, he transitioned to the IG branch at the then 81st Regional Support Command (now 81st Readiness Division) when the command was in Birmingham, Alabama. But he admitted, it wasn’t his choice.
“I was basically told that I was going to be an IG,” he said with a slight smile. “They were short IGs back in 1996. So my career manager at HRC (Army Human Resources Command) said I had an ‘outstanding record and so we’re going to make you an IG.’ I replied, ‘What’s an IG?’ So I learned all that I could, took the journey and ever since then I’ve been loving it.”
Johnson has served in various IG positions in Richmond, Virginia; the Pentagon; Fort Jackson, South Carolina; and Multi-National Corps-Iraq, in Baghdad.
Throughout his career, Johnson has focused on improving the capabilities of commanders to conduct day-to-day operations. He said that IGs have a responsibility to be impartial fact-finders for commanders.
“We have four functions for our customers. I like to call them customers,” he said. “We serve as the eyes, ears, voice, and conscience of the commander. IGs assess the readiness, discipline, efficiency, economy, morale, and training of units. We further assist these commanders by being problem solvers and not problem finders. We strive to make the commander the hero their Soldiers expect.”
Leahy added that Johnson embodies the IG motto – “Right and Forward.”
“An IG must embody the IG motto: ‘Right and Forward.’ Integrity and candor are must-have qualities,” she said. “A successful IG knows what right looks like, and views it as his or her responsibility to ‘tell it like it is’ to the commander.
“As a commander, I consider my IG one of my closest and most trusted advisors. Ron Johnson exemplifies those critical traits that commanders seek in their IGs,” Leahy said.
Johnson added that being an IG gives him personal and professional satisfaction because “I believe in helping people.”
When he is not involved with his IG duties, Johnson volunteers in and around Fort Jackson, South Carolina where he resides on weekends and was recently awarded the Fort Jackson Commanding General’s Helping Hand award.