Czelusta takes command at SOC
Maj. Gen. Scott Hanson passes the colors to Col. Mark Czelusta, incoming commander of the Squadron Officer College, during the change of command ceremony July 3 at Husband Auditorium. (Air Force photo by Bud Hancock)
by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs
7/13/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Col. Mark Czelusta assumed command of the Squadron Officer College from Col. Terrance McCaffrey during a change of command ceremony held July 3 in Husband Auditorium.
McCaffrey thanked his superiors for the opportunity to lead SOC. Departing from the school is bittersweet for the outgoing commander.
"If there is one thing I learned here it is that [the staff at SOC] is awesome. Gen. George C. Marshall said 'There is no limit to the good you can do if you don't care who gets the credit.' I believe that wholeheartedly," McCaffrey said.
McCaffrey encouraged the staff at SOC, saying that they were being left in the best of care under Czelusta.
"I'm very confident that you guys have a great leader here," he said
McCaffrey should know, since he and Czelusta were squadron mates at the U.S. Air Force Academy, according to Czelusta.
"He was one year ahead of me. We were squadron mates for two years, but after that we fell out of contact. Our paths crossed again when I was at my last Job as the 314th wing commander in Little Rock, Ark. We bumped into each other and reconnected our friendship," Czelusta said. "When I found out I was coming here, he and I talked and he briefed the staff and made sure I was poised for success in these early days. He took good care of me."
Czelusta said he was honored to be the new commander of SOC and looked forward to the challenges of his new command.
"The honor of command is a very important one, and that trust between the Air Force, the commander and the people in the organization is not lost on me," he said.
Continuing Air University's move toward blended learning, Czelusta said he would work to make SOC the best professional military education experience possible.
"We are going continue to work on innovative approaches to education, which include blended learning initiatives, distance learning courses and continue to develop the cadre and the staff. My final priority would be to engage our customer, the larger Air Force, and be relevant to them," Czelusta said. "We want to make this the best experience that they can have, and make sure that the students we graduate are value added out in the field."
Having assumed command of the school, Czelusta feels the burden of command, but it is a burden he accepts readily.
"We are truly shaping the next generation of leaders. The chief of staff of the Air Force in the year 2040, 28 years from now, is in the Air Force. That person probably has 6-7 years of commissioned service already, which is our prime target for students. We are the only school that can unequivocally say that we will train the chief of staff of the Air Force," Czelusta said. "It's a very humbling responsibility."