Cmdr. Harlan "Hojo" Johnson was raised in Milwaukie, Oregon. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in June 1991, completed boot camp at Recruit Training Command San Diego, Aircrew School at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, Aviation Electrician's Mate "A" School at Naval Air Technical Training Center in Millington, Tennessee, and the Flight Engineer Apprentice Program with Patrol Squadron (VP) 31 at NAS Moffett Field, California. He reported to the "Golden Swordsmen" of VP-47 where he qualified as the Unit NATOPS instructor flight engineer in the P-3C Orion and deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch.
Johnson's path to commission was a stair-step approach through the Enlisted Education Advancement Program and ultimately the Aviation Enlisted Commissioning Program. He was commissioned in December 2001 through the University of Arizona ROTC program where he earned a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering.
Upon completion of flight training with the "Boomers" of Training Squadron (VT) 27 at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, and with the 32nd Flying Training Squadron at Vance Air Force Base (AFB), Oklahoma, he was designated a naval aviator in September 2003.
Following training at Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 7, Johnson reported to the "Shadows" of VQ-4 at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, in 2004. He qualified as an E-6B aircraft commander, E-6B assistant NATOPS instructor pilot, and mission commander evaluator.
In March 2007, Johnson reported to the "Tigers" of VT-9 at NAS Meridian, Mississippi, as an Intermediate and Advanced flight instructor in the T-45 Goshawk. He was responsible for training and mentoring several hundred future Navy, Marine Corps, and foreign military aviators, as well as serving as the aviation safety officer for the squadron. He was recognized as the VT-9 Instructor of the Year in 2008.
Johnson reported to U.S. 7th Fleet, Yokosuka, Japan, in September 2010, where he served as a staff officer in Plans and Policy (N5) and Operations (N35) aboard the USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) where he supported Operation Tomodachi relief efforts in response to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Northern Japan in March 2011.
Johnson reported to the "Ironmen" of VQ-3 for his department head tour in February 2013 serving as safety officer, administration officer, and maintenance officer, and qualifying as E-6B assistant NATOPS instructor pilot and mission commander evaluator.
Following his department head tour, Johnson reported to Naval Air Facility Misawa, Japan, where he served as the air operations officer and executive officer providing aviation and ground logistical support and services to all permanent and transient U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps forces in Northern Japan. He qualified as a C-12F NATOPS instructor pilot where he provided Navy Air Logistics Office (NALO) and Operations Support Assignment (OSA) lift support through Commander, Fleet Air Western Pacific who serves as Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet Air Logistics Support.
Johnson currently serves as the chief staff officer for Training Air Wing 1 at Naval Air Station Meridian, which provides intermediate and advanced jet training for student naval aviators in the T-45C Goshawk aircraft.
Johnson has amassed over 3,500 flight hours in the T-34, T-1, B737, E-6B, T-45, FA-18, and C-12F aircraft. Personal decorations include the Navy Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (three awards), Navy Achievement Medal, and other service and unit awards.