Major General James M. “Mark” McDonald (’80) has taken command of Army ROTC, responsible for producing 60 percent of the Army’s new officers annually. McDonald (’80) will oversee Cadet Command. His last assignment was in Iraq, where he had been the director, J-3 (Operations) for U.S. Forces Iraq.
A ceremony at Brooks Field signaling the change in command also marked the culmination of a transition from Fort Monroe, Virginia, set in motion five years ago by the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission.
McDonald looked on from the Brooks Field reviewing stand as Sergeant Major Herschel Turner and the interim commander, Colonel Barrye Price, uncased the flag as the commanders and sergeants major from each of Cadet Command’s eight brigades stood in formation behind them. It was a simple procedure, taking about a minute to free the colors from their cloaked state.
UTC commissioned McDonald through the University’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. He has held a variety of leadership positions with units around the world, including Italy, Canada, Germany, Bosnia and the United States.
Heading Cadet Command is McDonald’s first assignment in Kentucky. As the organization’s ninth commander, he said he felt “privileged” to return to the organization where he got his start and welcomed the opportunity to develop the Army’s future leaders.
“This is an opportunity to pay back what I received over the years,” said McDonald, who also is a former Junior ROTC Cadet. “New beginnings foster tremendous opportunities for change and growth. That’s what I see today as we complete this transition. I absolutely can’t wait to do this.”
Cadet Command oversees both senior Army ROTC and Army Junior ROTC. The command has senior units at 273 host colleges nationwide, in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico. There are currently more than 36,000 cadets enrolled. There are also 1,688 Army Junior ROTC programs nationwide, in all 50 states as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, Japan, Korea and Germany. There are currently almost 290,000 cadet enrolled.