Chaplain Jay Johns spent his entire childhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Following high school graduation, he attended the University of Texas at Austin, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History (Philosophy Minor) in 1985. He graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, with the Master of Divinity degree in 1990.
Following seminary graduation, Jay served as a hospital chaplain at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where he completed 4 units of Basic Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE). Following CPE, he served two parishes as pastor (Texas and Pennsylvania). Chaplain Johns joined the National Guard as a chaplain in 1991, serving with the 49th Armored Division in Texas and the 28th Infantry Division in Pennsylvania (1-12 Infantry, Erie, PA), and entered active duty service in 1994.
His duty assignments include: Fort Drum, New York; Camp Zama, Japan; Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Gordon, Georgia; Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Washington, DC, and Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. He served as Operations Chaplain for US Forces-Afghanistan in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM from September 2012 to July 2013 at New Kabul Compound, Afghanistan.
Prior to assuming duties as the Executive Director of the Armed Forces Chaplain Board (OUSD-P&R), he served as Command Chaplain at NORAD and USNORTHCOM. In 2015 he earned the Master of Science degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College at Fort McNair, DC. He is endorsed by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.