Marek Chosen to Lead SDWG
Civil Air Patrol North Central Region Commander Col. John O’Neill has named Lt. Col. Michael Marek to be the next state commander of Civil Air Patrol (CAP) in South Dakota. Marek succeeds Col. Nick Gengler. A change of command ceremony is scheduled for 1 December, the 80th anniversary of the founding of CAP.
“I have full confidence that Lt. Col. Marek has the skills and experience needed to command South Dakota Wing,” said O’Neill. “He is the right person at the right time.”
"I have worked with Lt Col Marek for a number of years,” said Gengler. “His experience in Public Affairs and Communications will continue to lead the SD Wing Civil Air Patrol in the right direction by both getting our name out and improving our radio training and structure. I have no doubt Lt Col Marek will lead with our members admirably."
Marek joined Civil Air Patrol in 1984 and has held a series of progressively more responsible staff positions, including many at the wing (state) level, as well as region and national CAP staff positions.
“Thank you to Col. O’Neill for giving me this opportunity to give back to South Dakota Wing and to Col. Gengler for his outstanding service,” said Marek. “I hope my background and experience, both in and outside of CAP, will bring things to the table that benefit the wing.”
For his work on the national headquarters staff, the commander-select received two highly prestigious CAP Distinguished Service Awards, has master ratings in communications and public affairs and served as the North Central Region Encampment Commander in 2009 as well as other encampment staff positions in other years.
In operational missions for the U.S. Air Force, Marek has CAP mission qualifications as high as operations section chief and wears senior observer and master ground team leader badges. He was public information officer for South Dakota Wing’s December, 2020, COVID vaccine delivery missions, which gained national media attention. He has completed eight FEMA/ICS/IS courses and designed national-level training exercises.
Marek holds an earned doctorate in educational administration, a master's in mass communication and a bachelor’s degree in communication. He is an emeritus professor at Wayne State College, Wayne, Nebraska. He met his wife, Charlotte, in an online discussion group about Star Trek.