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Air Force Academy graduate Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria will return to lead school

May 18, 2017 Updated: May 18, 2017 at 6:10 am
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photo - Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria
Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria 

A fighter pilot who graduated from the Air Force Academy in 1985 will return to lead the school, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

Maj. Gen. Jay Silveria, now deputy commander of Air Force efforts in the Middle East, will take over from academy Superintendent Michelle Johnson, who has led the school for the past four years.

The new job will give Silveria a third star on his collar and command over the faculty, staff and 4,000 cadets at the academy. As the academy's 20th superintendent, he's replacing the school's first female boss and a commander noted for her efforts to combat sexual assault and rein in the misbehavior of the school's athletes.

Silveria is one of the Air Force's most experienced pilots with more than 3,900 hours in the cockpit. He has led a wing of F-15E strike fighters and 6,000 airmen in England and has also flown F-15C interceptors and HH-60 transport helicopters.

In a rare move for a pilot, he has also served as vice commander of the space-aimed 14th Air Force in California.

He has earned the Pentagon's highest award for service outside combat, the Distinguished Service Medal. Silveria has also earned the Bronze Star Medal.

His military accomplishments are matched by his academics. In addition to his academy degree, Silveria has a master's degree in social sciences from New York's Syracuse University. He also joined a Harvard fellowship program for senior executives.

Silveria also knows plenty about war.

"General Silveria has flown combat sorties over the Balkans and Iraq and served as Vice Commander at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan," his Air Force official biography says.

Johnson announced plans to retire last month. She plans to pursue a post-military career in college administration.

The former transport and refueling plane pilot was earlier given a rare fourth year in command of the school.

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