COL James Johnson III, former commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, based in Italy and Germany, was relieved of command in late March for unspecified issues. Now the tawdry allegations are all over the news–an Iraqi mistress, a fraud investigation, and a very public war of words and legal might with Johnson’s now-estranged wife. Kristina Johnson claims Johnson withdrew his overseas command sponsorship of her so the colonel could gain custody of their teenaged son and so he could move his mistress into base quarters. While the Army Times does not provide details about the fraud allegations, they’re reputed (unconfirmed) to involve disputed Army contracts with the girlfriend’s family.
COL Johnson returns fire with accusations that Kristina’s Early Return of Dependents (ERD) order was prompted by his wife’s improperly running the Family Readiness Group at Vicenza, charges those who worked with Kristina dispute. A more telling rebuttal to Johnson’s allegations comes from the commander who signed Kristina’s ERD order; COL Erik Daiga made a statement that Johnson led Daiga to believe Kristina wanted to return to the US. Johnson also alleges his wife kidnapped their son.
Both Johnsons recently filed for divorce. It appears the investigation against COL Johnson is still ongoing, and no charges have been preferred at this time. Johnson is a West Point grad and the son of a 2-star who once commanded the 82nd Airborne.