The Coast News Group
new President of the Army and Navy Academy
Army and Navy Academy file photo

Woman to lead Army and Navy academy

CARLSBAD —  Retired Army Maj. Gen. Peggy C. Combs, whose command assignments  included overseeing Army high school and college JROTC and ROTC units nationwide, has been selected as the new president of the Army and Navy Academy.

Combs will become the 16th president and the first woman to head the 112-year-old college preparatory boarding school for seventh- through 12th-grade boys, when she assumes her duties Oct. 17. A formal Assumption of Command ceremony will follow Oct. 23 at the Academy’s oceanfront campus, 2605 Carlsbad Blvd. She succeeds Mark Desjardins who retired recently.

The new Army and Navy Academy president’s 33-year military career included leading and overseeing leadership development, education, training, quality of life care programs. As Commanding General of the U.S. Army Cadet Command based at Fort Knox, Combs oversaw ROTC programs on nearly 1,800 high school and college campuses while also commanding the Fort Knox Army base. Her last assignment before retiring in 2018 was as Chief of Staff and Executive Director of the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs.

Combs’ numerous decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Army Legion of Merit, and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal.

A 1985 graduate of Syracuse University, where she was commissioned as an Army officer through the university’s ROTC program, Combs later earned master’s degrees in military arts from the U.S. Army War College and in management from St. Mary’s College. Syracuse recently awarded her an honorary doctor of laws degree.

“Maj. Gen. Combs’ diverse military and academic background and experience with ROTC programs nationwide will be immensely important to the quality of education our cadets will receive,’ said Barry Shreiar, chairman of the Academy’s Board of Trustees.  “We are confident she will play a key role in continuing to strengthen the Academy’s mission to educate and develop good character in young men.”

“I am honored, grateful, and excited to join the Army and Navy Academy family and to become part of the Carlsbad community,” Combs said. “I look forward to leading the Academy to its next chapter of excellence as we inspire, guide, and support our young men to develop the character and skills necessary to succeed and lead in college and beyond.”