U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - A new commandant of cadets took command of the cadet wing in a change of command ceremony at the Air Force Academy, May 27.
Brigadier Gen. Paul Moga, a 1995 graduate of the Academy and a command pilot with more than 2,600 flying hours in the F-15C, F-22 and F-35A, took command of the cadet wing from Maj. Gen. Michele Edmondson, slated to command the 2nd Air Force at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi.
As commandant, Moga leads more than 4,000 cadets and 200 Air Force and civilian personnel; guides military, leadership and character development, basic cadet training and expeditionary skills training for the Air Force Cadet Wing; and provides facilities and logistical support.
During his speech, Moga commended cadets for successfully accomplishing the Academy’s mission while enduring more than a year of COVID-19 health and safety precautions.
“You have weathered one heck of a year, hopefully one the likes of which will not be seen again, ever,” he said. “Believe me when I tell you that you are already better, smarter, more innovative, more ground breaking, more pioneering than I ever was at this stage of the game. You are, in fact, the best our country has to offer. Never forget that.”
Moga alluded to the international power struggles occurring across the world and encouraged cadets to stay true to the Academy’s mission and values.
“You’re going to need to wear the cloth and fight and win the wars of the nation,” he said. “It won’t ever be easy but it will reward you more than you can possibly imagine. Alongside our [staff and faculty], I’m here to do everything in my power to ensure you become the finest officers for our Air and Space Forces.”
Lieutenant Gen. Richard Clark, the Academy’s superintendent, presided over the ceremony.
“We are developing the future leaders of our Air Force and Space Force and doing everything we can as a team to ensure cadets thrive in an operational environment more difficult than any before, where they must be prepared to solve problems we don’t even know about yet,” he said. “This is an incredibly difficult task but our nation is counting on us to succeed. As our 30th commandant of cadets,” he said to Moga, “I know you will apply your own unique talents and experience and I look forward to your partnership as we push this Academy toward even greater heights.”
Clark thanked Edmondson for her service as the former commandant, telling the audience that she led the cadet wing through one of the most challenging events in recent history: the coronavirus pandemic.
“You stood tall in a time of great challenge and it is clear that you were the right leader at the right time for our Academy,” he said.
Before arriving at the Academy, Moga was the deputy director of operations for U.S. Northern Command at Peterson Air Force base.
“I cannot clearly and concisely explain what it means to me to be back here as your commandant,” he said. “I owe most everything good about my life to this institution.”