‘Let’s get after it’
June 21 2023
During a morning ceremony on Stillman Parade Field, the United States Air Force Academy family bid farewell to its most recent commandant of cadets and welcomed the newest leader to assume that role.
The 31st commandant of cadets who assumed command Wednesday (June 21) is Brig. Gen. Gavin P. Marks ’96. Gen. Marks most recently served as director of electromagnetic spectrum superiority at Headquarters U.S. Air Force at the Pentagon.
Gen. Marks takes over for Brig. Gen. Paul D. “Max” Moga ’95, who for the past two years has led the Cadet Wing through military, leadership and character development training. Gen. Moga soon departs for Ramstein Air Base, Germany, where he will serve as the chief of staff, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa, as a major general.
In his new role, Gen. Marks will lead the 4,300-member Cadet Wing and a team of more than 200 U.S. Air Force, U.S. Space Force and civilian personnel.
During the change of command ceremony, USAFA Superintendent Lt. Gen. Richard Clark ’86 thanked Gen. Moga for his leadership during particularly challenging times.
“Over the past two years, Max has led our Cadet Wing as we pivoted from the pandemic, and he brought us back to normalcy,” Gen. Clark said. “It’s been such an honor to have you as part of Team USAFA.”
Among the successes Gen. Clark highlighted from Gen. Moga’s tenure were an honor reset; renewed emphasis on a warfighting mentality; a first ever top-secret briefing to the Cadet Wing; reinstatement of combat survival training after a 10 year hiatus; the launch of Azimuth, a Space Force summer program; and expanded culminating exercises focusing on the joint and multi-domain fight.
“It’s been an honor working with you, and I cannot wait to see what you do in the future as you continue to lead our country,” Gen. Clark told Gen. Moga.
In his final remarks as commandant, Gen. Moga thanked the entire Academy staff for their dedication and hard work in developing cadets as future leaders.
“Your tireless efforts of coaching, teaching, mentoring, training, developing, leading and commanding our cadets have been like nothing I’ve ever seen in my career,” he said. “Your passion and unwavering commitment to their growth and success has been truly exceptional. I’m profoundly grateful and impressed by your hard work, your professionalism and your dedication.”
Gen. Moga added that he’s excited to pass the commandant role on to another great leader.
“I know that the Cadet Wing is in capable hands and the Marks (family) will bring their own unique strengths and vision to this role and continue to build and inspire the next generation of warfighters who are prepared to lead with character,” he said.
Gen. Clark welcomed Gen. Marks back to the USAFA family, noting that Gen. Marks “is a remarkable leader who will prepare our cadets for the future fight.”
“As our 31st commandant of cadets, my guidance to you is to develop our cadets to become the leaders of character our nation deserves,” he said, “and prepare them for future conflict — ready to take on challenges we don’t even know about — and to win our nation’s wars.”
In his first comments as commandant, Gen. Marks pledged to bring his “full attention and my best efforts every single day” to his new role.
“I am so incredibly honored to join your team, and I am incredibly excited about what we will accomplish together,” he told the cadets and staff in the crowd.
He promised to build on the momentum Gen. Moga achieved and prepare the Cadet Wing for the challenges that lay ahead.
“We have significant work to do because we know that good enough today will almost certainly fail tomorrow,” he told the cadets. “But we will not fail. We will be successful.”
Gen. Marks challenged the Cadet Wing to embrace the opportunities ahead and take full advantage of their time as cadets.
“Our time starts right now, teammates, with five words that will encapsulate our time together — world class is our standard,” he said. “Let’s get after it.”
Gen. Marks is a command pilot with over 3,400 hours in the T-3, T-37, E-3B/C, T-1A, RC-135S/V/W, TC- 135W, and WC-135C aircraft. He has since gone on to various support and command roles during his Air Force career. Assignments included director of the secretary of the Air Force/chief of staff of the Air Force Executive Action Group, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and commander of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.