12:17 PM

Marek Chosen to Command South Dakota Wing

Col.-select Michael Marek

Lt. Col. Michael Marek is the next South Dakota Wing commander, with a change of command ceremony set for Dec. 1 -- the 80th anniversary of the founding of Civil Air Patrol.

“I have full confidence that Lt. Col. Marek has the skills and experience needed to command South Dakota Wing,” said Col. John O’Neill, North Central Region commander. “He is the right person at the right time.”

Marek succeeds Col. Nick Gengler as wing commander.

"I have worked with Lt. Col. Marek for a number of years,” Gengler said. Citing his successor’s “experience in public affairs and communications,” he predicted Marek “will continue to lead the wiang 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,” Gengler said.

Marek joined Civil Air Patrol in 1984 and has held a series of progressively more responsible staff positions, many at the wing 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,” Marek said. “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 National Headquarters staff, Marek received two CAP Distinguished Service Awards. He holds 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.

Marek also 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 the South Dakota Wing’s December COVID-19 vaccine delivery missions in December. He has completed eight Federal Emergency Management Agency Incident Command System courses and designed national-level training exercises.