General Mark Morrell appointed Adjutant General of the South Dakota National Guard

PIERRE, S.D.(Press Release) – On Friday, Governor Kristi Noem announced that Brigadier General Mark Morrell will serve as the next Adjutant General of the South Dakota National Guard (SDNG). Major General Jeff Marlette is retiring. The change of command will take place on August 5 in Rapid City.

“Our South Dakota National Guard serves with excellence in no small part due to their superb leadership,” said Governor Noem, “Today, I have the privilege of honoring two tremendous leaders. General Jeff Marlette has served with excellence through an unprecedented period for our South Dakota National Guard. I thank him for his advice, his counsel, and his long service in defense of our nation. However, I believe the men and women of the South Dakota National Guard will be in capable hands under General Mark Morrell’s leadership.”

General Morrell’s current post is as Deputy Chief of Staff, Headquarters, Joe Foss Field. His most recent command was as Commander of the 114th Fighter Wing of the South Dakota Air National  Guard at Joe Foss Field, a role in which he served from 2019 until this past January. Prior to that, he was Vice Commander of the 114th Fighter Wing, Commander of the 114th’s Operations Group, and Commander of the 114th Operations Support Squadron.

“I am excited to serve as Governor Noem’s next Adjutant General of the great state of South Dakota, and I thank her for the opportunity,” said General Mark Morrell. “I’d like to thank both MG Jeff Marlette and BG Greg Lair for challenging, supporting, and teaching me; and for the remarkable model of leadership and service they have lived out as citizen-warriors and leaders in the SDNG for 40+ years. As Adjutant General, I will endeavor to follow their example of leadership as service to others as a way of life.”

General Morrell entered the Air Force in May 1999 as a graduate of South Dakota State University and as a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Air Force (USAF) Officer Training Corps Detachment 780. He served on Active Duty for 12 years before transitioning home to the South Dakota Air National Guard.

“The citizen-warriors of the SDNG are incredible individuals who together accomplish extraordinary things,” continued General Morrell. “I will make certain that they are and remain trained, equipped, and ready to face any challenge to the security of our South Dakota communities or our nation, as well as to the liberty of its citizens.”

General Morrell is a Command Pilot with over 3,000 flying hours, is qualified as an Instructor Pilot, and is both a graduate and former instructor at the USAF Weapons School. He has participated in training operations in Alaska, Italy, Japan, Jordan, and South Korea. He has also deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation Freedom’s Sentinel along with NATO’s Resolute Support Mission.

General Morrell’s major awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, and more.

General Marlette has served as Adjutant General since June of 2019. He looks forward to spending his retirement with his wife, children, and grandchildren.