Friends and family gathered at the Wellston Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9092, 1719 E. Broadway St., on Saturday, May 7 to celebrate the service and retirement of Major Coleman Allan Johnson.

Son of Anita and James Johnson of Wellston, Coleman Johnson, a 1994 Wellston High School graduate, signed up for active duty for the U.S. Army in 1998. He completed basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He then attended Advanced Individual Training at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Aberdeen, Maryland, where he trained as a track vehicle mechanic and wrecker operator.

His first duty assignment was Camp Hovey, South Korea, from 1998-1999. Following his stay in Korea, Johnson was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia. While based there, he served eight months in Bosnia in the winter of 2000-2001.

After being promoted to sergeant in 2002, Johnson left Georgia for Vilseck, Germany. While stationed in Vilseck, Johnson served one month in Kosovo in 2002. In 2003, he did an eight-month tour in Iraq. After finishing a three-month leave, he went back to Iraq for a 14-month tour in 2004-2005.

After his second tour in Iraq, Johnson returned to Aberdeen, Maryland to become an instructor at the proving ground. In December of 2007 he left active duty after a decade. He then joined the Ohio Army National Guard’s 216th Engineer Battalion; after one year, he began Officer Candidate School, where at the same time he worked on a university degree. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in engineering from Marshall University in 2012.

In 2010, Johnson was commissioned as an engineer officer and became a platoon leader and later an executive officer for the 1194th Engineer Company in Chillicothe. In 2015, Johnson became a captain and commanded the 1191st Engineer Company in Portsmouth. He served in that position until 2018 and responded to five different natural disasters during that period.

He served additional staff time in the 216th before being assigned to the 837th Engineer Battalion. He was promoted to major last year — 23 years to the week of graduating basic. As a major, he served as the S-3 operations officer in the 837th Engineer Battalion.

Johnson decided to retire last fall. He had surpassed his longtime goal of becoming a company commander. Though he initially joined the military to help pay for college, he found that he enjoyed the training and camaraderie, and served as long as he could.

Johnson resides in Ashland, Kentucky, where he has lived for 14 years with his wife of 22 years, Dana, and their children, Madison, 13, and James, 17. He enjoys hiking, fishing and spending time with his family. He will celebrate his 46th birthday later this month.