While attending high school in Rocklin, Calif. Johnston joined the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program, where enjoyed the structure and purpose associated with military service. His grandfather had served in the Navy and once told Johnston that if he ever wanted to see the world then the Navy was the way to go. He joined directly out of high school. After returning from deployment to the Middle East in 2003, Johnston lost his left leg in a motorcycle accident that occurred just three miles from the front gate of Naval Air Station Oceana, Va. He was undeterred by his injury, though, and he successfully petitioned to remain in the Navy after a year of intense physical therapy. He separated January 2008 and is working towards a career in professional sports; he has competed in the Paratriathalon World Championships.

Photo of Michael Johnston

Michael Johnston

Retired Navy Parachute Rigger 3rd Class

Age: 29

Current Command/Position: Pursuing a career in professional sports

Current Hometown: San Diego, Calif.

Disability: Below-the-knee amputee (left leg), sustained in motorcycle accident in 2003