Military Spotlight: Saluting Our Service Members

By the Major Brent Taylor Foundation and Jenny Goldsberry

Darrin’s 20-year+ service with the Air Force included the following: fuels officer, Chief of Civil Law after obtaining his law degree, and Chief Legal Advisor to the NATO commander in Bosnia.

Darrin K. Johns

After leaving the Army ROTC program to help with his family, Darrin joined the Air Force Officer Training School and commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in March 1995. His first assignment was as a fuels officer at Eielson AFB, Alaska, where he obtained a Master’s Degree in business, successfully argued for a new Type III fuels hydrant system, and was recognized as the best fuels officer in all of the Pacific Air Force. From Alaska, he went to Dover AFB, Delaware, and served as Combat Operations Flight Commander in Supply and then as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer on the C-5 airframe. While at Dover, he deployed to Kuwait during Operation Desert Fox.

Darrin was one of five officers selected for the prestigious Excess Leave Program to attend law school. He left Dover AFB to attend law school at BYU where he graduated with a juris doctorate degree in 2003, but more importantly, where he met and married his wife, Sheri. Upon graduation, he returned to Alaska, this time to Elmendorf AFB where he served as a prosecutor and was placed in charge of the operations and readiness law section. After only two years, he was reassigned to Edwards AFB, California, as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate for the base and also continued to serve as a prosecutor. While at Edwards, Darrin deployed to Iraq (2005-06), where he prosecuted terrorists and insurgents captured on the battlefield, and then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as chief of Intelligence Law (2007).

After serving as Chief of Civil Law at Air Force Space Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado (2007-09), he was assigned as a Criminal Appellate Defense Counsel in Washington DC. Darrin claims this was his most enjoyable assignment in the Air Force: arguing criminal cases in front of military appellate courts. While in Washington DC, he was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and reassigned to F. E. Warren AFB, Wyoming, as the Deputy SJA for 20th Air Force, overseeing criminal prosecutions throughout the command. During his time at 20th Air Force, Darrin deployed to Bosnia (2012) as the Chief Legal Advisor to the NATO Commander. He devised a plan that was accepted by NATO to settle over $1 billion in claims against NATO, advised both NATO and the European Union Forces concerning appointment of key personnel to cabinet and other high-level positions in the Bosnian government, and advised NATO on the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords.

Darrin retired on November 30, 2014, after just over 20 years of service. He started his own law practice, served for almost a year as the Pleasant Grove city prosecutor, and then returned to the Air Force as a civilian attorney advisor at Hill AFB. He is married to Sheri A. Johns, and they have five children: Calli, Zachary, Kathryn, Kaycee, and Sarah.

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