A fighter pilot now serving as a top operations officer at U.S. Northern Command will be the Air Force Academy's next commandant of cadets, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

Brig Gen. Paul Moga, who flew the Air Force's F-22 Raptor stealth fighter and has 250 hours in aerial combat under his belt, will replace Maj. Gen. Michele Edmondson, who is taking command of 2nd Air Force.

In her new job, Edmondson will oversee the initial and technical training of all Air Force and Space Force enlisted troops from a headquarters in Biloxi, Miss.

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She came to the academy in 2019 after a stint as the top space policy expert at the White House.

Moga, a 1995 academy graduate, commanded a fighter squadron and a fighter wing before coming to Northern Command in 2020.

At the command, he helped lead planning as the organization offered military assistance to civilian authorities battling coronavirus and protected the continent from enemy attack.

With 2,600 hours in the cockpit, Moga has flown a variety of fighter aircraft, including the F-15 Eagle, the F-35 Lightning II and the Raptor, renowned as one of the world's most advanced jets.

At the academy, he will command the 4,000-member cadet wing while serving as the school's top military trainer and chief disciplinarian.

The commandant's job is often offered to officers who leaders envision in a bigger future role.

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One former commandant now runs the academy. Lt. Gen. Richard Clark, the school's superintendent, was commandant from 2010 to 2012.

While an exact date for Moga to take over his new post hasn't been announced, past commandants have entered the job in May after the school's graduation rites.

Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240

Twitter: @xroederx

City Editor

Tom Roeder is the Gazette's City Editor. In Colorado Springs since 2003, Tom has covered the military at home and overseas and has cover statehouses in Denver and Olympia, Wash. His main job, though, is being dad to two great kids.

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