Bright new star shines over Terrazzo
Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John Regni, left, passes the command flag to Brig. Gen. Samuel Cox signifying the assumption of command as the 24th commandant of cadets here Wednesday.
- read more below -
The 24th senior officer to serve as the Air Force Academy's commandant of cadets assumed command during a 12:05 p.m. ceremony Wednesday on the Terrazzo.
Following his bird-to-star transition in a Tuesday morning pin-on ceremony, Brig. Gen. Samuel Cox succeeded Brig. Gen. Susan Desjardins as the Cadet Wing's new commandant.
"I look forward to it," the 1984 Air Force Academy graduate said to cadets in formation, distinguished visitors, friends of the Academy and alumni, and to his family who'd gathered to witness the traditional passing of the command flag from Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. John Regni.
Addressing his staff, the new commandant said, "This is pretty simple, at least in words, not necessarily in deeds. We're here to produce officers of character. What I ask of you is that we provide the environment, the leadership, the mentorship, and the tools for that."
General Cox reminded cadets they're all here for the very same reason. "That's to go out, graduate from this place, and lead.
"Both Generals Desjardins and Cox emphasized the development of leadership skills has never been more important than today and that successfully executing leadership is what it takes to win the nation's wars.
"What I ask of you is to do your best every day," General Cox told the future Air Force leaders lining the Terrazzo from east to west. "Give your best effort. Whether it's in the classroom, on the athletic fields; anywhere that you represent the United States Air Force Academy, do your best … and the results will take care of themselves."
"We're going to do this together as a team, we're going to accomplish the mission, and we're going to have fun," the commandant concluded.
General Cox worked for General Desjardins in a previous assignment at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C., from 2004 to 2005. Then-Colonel Cox was vice wing commander of the 437th Airlift Wing while then-Colonel Desjardins commanded the wing. General Desjardins transferred here from the 437th AW to become the Academy's 23rd commandant of cadets.
General Desjardins will soon depart for Scott AFB, Ill., where she will become the deputy director, strategic plans, requirements and programs at Headquarters, Air Mobility Command.
Reflecting on her Academy tenure, General Desjardins said, "This has been a challenging and fulfilling assignment, perhaps the most rewarding I have ever had in my Air Force career." Addressing her successor directly she said, "General Cox, this is a uniquely rare opportunity to be part of Team USAFA - to have the opportunity to shape the next generation of Air Force leaders of character. I know you recognize this and you will be exactly the right commandant for this time in our Air Force Academy's history."
As commandant of cadets, he will lead the 4,400-member Cadet Wing, as well as more than 300 Air Force and civilian support personnel. His responsibilities include cadet military training and airmanship education, supervising cadet life activities and providing support to facilities and logistics.
General Cox is a command pilot with more than 4,600 flying hours, including airlift missions during Operation(s) Just Cause, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. He has commanded at the squadron, group and wing levels and held staff positions at the major command, Joint Staff, and Headquarters U.S. Air Force levels. He comes from the Pentagon, where he served as the director of the Air Force general officer management office.