Col. Wootan Assumes CAP-USAF Command
Col. Mark A. “Woot” Wootan officially became the 31st commander of Civil Air Patrol-U.S. Air Force (CAP-USAF) today.
In a ceremony in the main hangar at Maxwell Air Force Base, Wootan assumed command from Col. Michael D. Tyynismaa, who has led CAP-USAF since August 2014 and is retiring from active duty.
“I am truly humbled with this command,” Wootan said. “Col. Tyynismaa built a great team and, as importantly, strengthened an already strong CAP, CAP-USAF relationship. I am eager to get started and help CAP grow and flourish.”
As CAP-USAF commander, Wootan is responsible for ensuring CAP — the Air Force auxiliary — is organized, trained and equipped to fulfill Air Force-assigned missions. CAP-USAF provides day-to-day support, advice and liaison to CAP’s more than 60,000 members and provides oversight for CAP programs, with emphasis on safety and program requirements. CAP-USAF personnel are also the primary function interface between other federal agencies and CAP.
CAP-USAF is staffed with about 200 active-duty, reservist and civilian airmen at CAP National Headquarters at Maxwell AFB and locations in New Jersey, Maryland, Ohio, Georgia, Minnesota, Texas, Colorado, California and Florida, as well as in Puerto Rico and at several overseas Air Force installations.
“We welcome Col. Wootan to this new command post and look forward to his leadership,” said CAP National Commander/CEO Maj. Gen. Mark Smith. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to CAP-USAF. This experience is certain to help shape our organization moving forward.”
Wootan, with 30-plus years of active-duty Air Force service in international relations, military operations, command and defense, has served with Tyynismaa as national vice commander of CAP-USAF since July 2018.
“In my nearly nine months as Col. T’s vice commander, I’ve had the opportunity to attend many exercises, operation evaluations and conferences,” Wootan said. “I remain amazed by the efforts, energy and professionalism of CAP members and staff. This is going to be a lot of fun.”
Before his CAP-USAF assignment, Wootan was an Air Force foreign affairs officer, serving for three years as the senior defense official and defense attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, and nearly two years as the defense and air attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan
In addition to that duty, he has commanded a 300-member Air Force squadron and is certified in multiple airframes. An Air Force command pilot, he has been an instructor pilot in C-130 and T-34 military aircraft and has been responsible for teaching all facets of airdrop, airland, tactics, instrument and formation training. He has also served as an Air Force exchange officer to the U.S. Navy as a naval flight instructor.
Wootan has more than 3,400 flying hours in the C-130 and T-34 as well as KC-135 and C-12 aircraft. His flight service includes 500 hours of combat and combat support in operations Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, Noble Anvil, Joint Task Force Horn of Africa and Northern Watch.
He also led the Defense Intelligence Agency’s sole combat aircraft program in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
His major awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Commendation Medal, the Air Force Commendation Medal, U.S. Navy/U.S. Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal and Iraq Campaign Medal. In addition, he was the KC-135 Combat Crew Training School Distinguished Graduate as well as the Training Wing Five and City of Milton, Florida, Navy Flight Instructor of the Year.
Wootan’s non-Air Force and foreign awards include the Czech Republic Army’s Merit of Order (Legion of Merit), Nebraska Air National Guard’s Legion of Merit, Czech Republic Military Police’s Commendation Medal and Pakistan Air Force Command Pilot wings.
He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas, receiving a bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1991 and a master’s degree in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 1994. Later, he earned two other master’s degrees — one focused in air power from the Air Force’s School of Advanced Air and Space Studies at Maxwell AFB and one in national security from the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.
Wootan and his wife, Diane, have two grown children, Katie and Jackson, and one grandchild.
Photos by Susan Schneider, CAP National Headquarters