News>26th Commandant of Cadets: ‘I’ve been trying to get into this Academy since I was 17 years old’
Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould hands over command of the Academy's Cadet Wing to Brig. Gen. Lengyel during the change of command ceremony June 25. Lengyel succeeds Brig. Gen. Richard Clark who has been nominated for a Defense Attaché position. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Mike Kaplan)
Air Force Academy cadets salute during the change of command ceremony June 25. Brig. Gen. Gregory Lengyel replaces Brig. Gen. Richard Clark as commandant of cadets. Clark has been nominated for a Defense Attaché position. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Mike Kaplan)
Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould, left, and outgoing Commandant of Cadets Brig. Gen Richard Clark applaud Brig. Gen. Gregory Lengyel during the change of command ceremony June 25. Lengyel comes to the Academy from Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, NATO, in Mons, Belgium, where he was the executive officer to the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Mike Kaplan)
6/25/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Brig. Gen Gregory Lengyel took command of the Academy's Cadet Wing during a change-of command ceremony June 25.
Brig. Gen. Lengyel succeeds Brig. Gen. Richard Clark who has been nominated for a Defense Attaché position.
"It's always bitter sweet when we have a change-of-command," said Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould. "Gen. Clark, Rich, your legacy will stand for many years here and if there was a theme to it, your emphasis was on helping cadets find their why: why they serve and helping all of us find why we train, educate and inspire the way we do. Your legacy will be one of a commandant who was visible, approachable and genuine here at the Air Force Academy."
Clark initiated the first Mission Partner Program, piloted the Inspire to Inspire program, implemented programs and curriculums that were warrior focused and created Polaris Warrior, a nine-month tactical war fighting training program to demonstrate real world expeditionary skills.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times but overall it was the most rewarding and best job I ever had," Clark said. "Awesome cadets, you taught me so much--you taught me to soar farther, to jump higher, persevere stronger, laugh harder and you inspired me."
Clark also thanked Gould for selecting Lengyel as the Academy's next commandant.
"I've gotten to know Brig. Gen. Lengyal, his wife Diane and son Matt over the last two weeks and you made the exact right choice," Clark said. "We're going to be in good shape."
Lt. Gen. Gould said he is optimistic as the Academy welcomes in the Lengyel family.
"Brig. Gen. Lengyel has great staff experiences that will service him well at the Academy," Gould said. "My only charge to you, General Lengyel, is to take care of yourself and your family mentally, spiritually, physically so that you in turn, you can take care of this great team charged with the mission of training our replacements."
General Lengyel is a 1985 distinguished graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps program at Texas A&M University. He comes to the Academy from Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, NATO, in Mons, Belgium, where he was the executive officer to the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe.
"I have been in the in United States Air Force either as a dependent or active duty officer for 48 and a half years of my life," Brig. Gen. Lengyel said. "I cannot remember a time when I did not know that I wanted to serve in the United States Air Force. I've been trying to get into this Academy since I was 17 years old."
Lengyel will command the 4,200-member Cadet Wing and more than 300 Air Force and civilian support personnel. He will also oversee the cadet military training, supervise cadet life activities and provide support to cadet facilities and logistics.
"I'm proud to be working with a group of young men and women who have chosen a path of service to our country," Lengyel said. "You have volunteered to live under a strict honor code, to meet a higher standard of personal and professional conduct, and go through an extremely rigorous, military, academic and physical training program and to give up so many of the personal freedoms that most of your peers at other institutions enjoy. Thank you for making that choice."
Lengyel told cadets that their hard work will pay off personally and professionally.
"I know it's an old cliché and you're probably tired of hearing it, but if it were easy, anyone could do it," Lengyel said. "My job is to set the conditions for your success and to use this fabulous institution to develop leaders of character and produce the best damn second lieutenants the United States Air Force has ever seen. Go Air Force."