LTC Mark A. Kaster
- Cohen Science Center, 418
- (570) 408-5046
Lt Col Kaster (Ret), USAF, is a career meteorologist and teaches in the Environmental
Engineering and Earth Sciences Department. He is also the Wilkes University Veteran
Counselor assisting veterans and their dependents with their education benefits and
VA certifying official. Lt Col Kaster’s leadership has elevated the Wilkes University
Veteran Program to be recognized in the top 15% of the nation’s universities for Military
Friendly School status as awarded by trade publication GI Jobs.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster enlisted in the Iowa Army National Guard and completed Army Basic Training and Army Advance Training in 1977. He served in the infantry with B Company, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 177th Infantry Regiment, 47th Infantry Division, Sheldon, IA, where he earned the rank of Sergeant and the position of Fire Team Leader. He was honorably discharged in 1982.
He was commissioned through the Air Force Officer Training School at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas in 1984 and then served as Wing Weather Officer and Forecaster at Detachment 15, 9th Weather Squadron, Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota, supporting the 319th Bombardment Wing and 321st Strategic Missile Wing. In 1984, his unit was awarded the Air Weather Service Williams Award which recognizes the best weather unit in the United States Air Force.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster was assigned to Detachment 2, 7th Weather Squadron, Hanau Army Airfield, Germany, in 1986. He was an Officer-in-Charge of a Combat Weather Team, Staff Briefer to the 3rd Armored Division Commanding General, and led the team supporting the division’s Combat Aviation Brigade’s 200 helicopters. This unit was also awarded the Air Weather Service Williams Award in 1988.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster was transferred to Headquarters, Air Weather Service, Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, in October 1989 where he served as the Assistant Chief, Army Support Division, Directorate of Operations. During DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM, he was a Team Chief on the Air Weather Service Commander’s Crisis Action Team. In October 1991, he became Chief, Reserve Forces Training Division, Directorate of Operations, Headquarters, Air Weather Service, where he supervised the 140-person Reserve Weather Officer Program.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster earned a Master of Science Degree in Meteorology through the Air Force Institute of Technology in 1993. While attending Saint Louis University, he co-authored a paper, “The Use of Storm-Relative Winds to Diagnose Isentropic Vertical Motions during Winter Storms,” which was presented at the National Weather Association Annual Conference, Saint Louis, Missouri, October 1992. His thesis work, “Physical Processes Organizing Wintertime Frozen Precipitation Events in the Midwest,” was presented at the American Meteorological Society 13th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting at Vienna, Virginia, in August 1993.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster was assigned as Chief of Operations at the European Meteorological and Oceanographic Center, Detachment 4, 617th Weather Squadron, Traben-Trarbach, Germany, in June 1993. He led a 25-person forecast center which provided tailored weather support to American military forces throughout the United States European Command’s area of responsibility and supervised weather warnings issued for more than 500 Department of Defense installations in Europe with cumulative resources valued in excess of $300 billion. From April to August 1994, he deployed to Dal Moline Air Base, Italy, where he lead a North Atlantic Treaty Organizational (NATO) weather team providing direct weather support to the Combined Air Operations Center and Operations DENY FLIGHT and PROVIDE PROMISE. For this action, his unit was awarded the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. He was Detachment 4, 617th Weather Squadron Company Grade Officer of the Year in 1995.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster assumed his duties as Commander, Detachment 7, 7th Weather Squadron, Grafenwoehr Army Airfield, Germany, in October 1995. He led a 15-person weather detachment which provided tailored weather support to multi-national joint air/ground operations on the largest live-fire training ranges in Europe, the US Army’s 7th Army Training Command, the 100th Area Support Group, and the Grafenwoehr Army Airfield. His unit earned the Grimes Award, best tactical weather unit in the Air Force, 1997. He deployed to Tuzla Air Base, Bosnia, from December 1996 to April 1997 to standup and command the 4100 Weather Squadron (Provisional) in direct support of Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR and JOINT GUARD. His weather forces supported over 30,000 Implementation Force (IFOR) and Stabilization Forces (SFOR) soldiers and airmen of TASK FORCE EAGLE and the US Army 1st Infantry Division.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster was reassigned to Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, DC, in June 1998 where he served as Chief, Career Field Management, Resources Division, Directorate of Weather. He was responsible for the functional oversight of the 3,800 Air Force Weather personnel supporting Air Force, Army, unified commands, and other government operations. Lieutenant Colonel Kaster was also a leader on the Air Force Crisis Action Team supporting Operation ALLIED FORCE.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster assumed his duties as Executive Officer to the Director of Weather, Deputy Chief of Staff, Air and Space Operations, Headquarters Air Force, Pentagon, Washington, DC in June 1999. Lieutenant Colonel Kaster supervised and had decision authority in managing staff actions of the Directorate of Weather, supporting the Director and Deputy in all phases of their Air Staff, joint service, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and inter-departmental duties.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster was reassigned to Headquarters, US Army Corps of Engineers (HQ USACE), Washington, DC, in January 2000. He was Chief, Weather Support Division, Staff Weather Officer to the 3-star Commanding General and Chief of Engineers. Lieutenant Colonel Kaster was solely responsible for all worldwide meteorological data support to HQ USACE, an Army MACOM with over 37,000 personnel and $11.6 billion budget.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster was assigned to NATO Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) as Chief, Weather Operations, 2002 to 2006. He was responsible for meteorological support issues in Strategic Command Europe where he directly supported the Supreme Commander Allied Command Europe (SACEUR) and SHAPE. He was the program manager for the $2.1M NATO Automated Weather Distribution System (NAMIS). He was Chairman NAMIS User Group (NUG) and represented SACEUR at NATO military committee working groups. Deployed as Shift Director in NATO Operations Center, Joint Forces Command Naples, directing mission execution of NATO forces supporting GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR objectives directly supporting NATO Operations STROGOPS, SHADOWOPS, and Combined Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
Lieutenant Colonel Kaster assumed his duties as Commander, Detachment 752, Air Force Reserve Officer Training Command (AFROTC) at Wilkes University in August 2006. As Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Kaster lead, directed, and managed a college-level officer training program. He supervised four active duty Air Force personnel and one civilian. He served as senior Air Force officer with dual responsibilities as Commander and Chairman of the Department of Aerospace Studies with a rank of full professor and Aerospace Sciences Department Chair in the Wilkes University College of Science and Engineering. He ultimately determined who was commissioned to lead our future Air Force.
- Lecturer and Veteran Counselor: Wilkes University, 2010 - Present
- Commander, AFTORC Detachment 752, Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA., 2006 – 2010
- Chief, Allied Command Meteorological and Oceanographic Operations, SHAPE/J3 (Operations), SHAPE, Belgium, 2002 – 2006:
- Chief, Weather Support Division, Headquarters, US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Washington, DC, 2000 – 2002:
- Executive Officer, Directorate of Weather, DCS/Air and Space Operations (HAF), Pentagon, Washington, DC, 1999 – 2000:
- Chief, Career Field Management, Resource Division, Directorate of Weather, DCS/Air and Space Operations (HAF), Pentagon, Washington, DC, 1998 – 1999
- Commander, Detachment 7, 7th Weather Squadron, Grafenwoehr, Germany, 1995 – 1997. Deployed 4100 Weather Squadron Commander, Tuzla, Bosnia, for IFOR and SFOR operations, 1996 - 1997
- Chief of Operations, Detachment 4, 617th Weather Squadron, Traben-Trarbach, Germany, 1993 – 1995
- Leader of deployed 20 person NATO weather team directly supporting Operations DENY FLIGHT and PROVIDE PROMISE, 5th Allied Tactical Air Forces Combined Air Operations Center, Vicenza, IT, 1994 Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT): Saint Louis University Graduate Degree Program, 1992-1993
- Officer-in-Charge/Staff Weather Officer, Combat Weather Team, 3rd Armored Division, Hanau, GE, 1986-1989 Wing Weather Officer, 319th Bomb Wing and 321st Missile Wing, Grand Forks, ND, 1984-1986
- USAF Officer Training School, Lackland AFB, TX, 1984
Masters of Science, Meteorology, Saint Louis University, St Louis, MO, Meteorology, (1993) Masters of Science, Business Administration/Management, Troy State University, Troy, AL, (1989) Bachelors of Science, Meteorology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, (1982)
PROFESSIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION
Air War College, Maxwell AFB, AL (2003)
Joint Forces Staff College, National Defense University, Norfolk, VA (2002)
Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, AL (1998)
Squadron Officer School, Maxwell AFB (1988)
AF Air Ground Operations School – Honor Graduate, Hurlburt Field, FL (1986)
- Synoptic Meteorology
- Global Climate Change
- Planet Earth – The Global Environment
- Hydrology Labs
- Environmental Engineering Labs
- Moore, J., Kaster, M., 1992. The Use of Storm-Relative Winds to Diagnose Isentropic Vertical Motions during Winter Storms, National Weather Association Annual Conference, Saint Louis, MO
- Moore, J., Kaster, M., 1993. Physical Processes Organizing Wintertime Frozen Precipitation Events in the Midwest, American Meteorological Society 13th Conference on Weather Analysis and Forecasting, Vienna, VA
- Wilkes University Veteran Council, 2010 – Present
- Wilkes University UN faculty liaison (Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI), 2011 – Present
- Earth and Environmental Science Day, 2016 – Present
- Earth and Space Science Workshop, 2017
- Luzerne County Court Team Drug and Mental Health Courts Veteran Tracks Mentor Leader, 2016 – Present
- Adjunct Professor, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL, Spangdahlem AB, Germany 1995
- School Board, Department of Defense Schools Grafenwoehr, Germany 1996 -1998
- Teacher St Paul’s Lutheran Church Sunday School, 7th - 8th grade, Mountain Top, PA 2007-Present
MILITARY AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
- Air Force Command Badge
- Master Meteorologist Badge
- Defense Meritorious Service Medal
- Meritorious Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
- Joint Service Commendation Medal
- Air Force Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters
- Army Commendation medal
- Air Force Achievement Medal
- Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal
- Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal
- Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
- Armed Forces Service Medal with one oak leaf cluster
- National Defense Service Medal with one device
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- NATO Medal
- Joint Meritorious Unit Award
- Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
- Air Force Organizational Excellence Award
- AF Overseas Ribbon Long with three devices
- AF Longevity Service with four devices
- Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon with device
- AF Training Ribbon
- Army Service Ribbon
- US Army Corps of Engineers DeFlury Medal
- Wilkes University President’s Award for Excellence – MENTORSHIP, 2016
- Wilkes University Faculty Choice Award, 2012 - 2013
- Wilkes University Veterans Council Certificate of Appreciation, 2011 - 2013
- Wilkes University World War 2 Alumni ‘Flyboys” Certificate of Appreciation, 2010
- USAF Command
- USAF Master Meteorologist
- Veteran of Foreign Wars
- American Meteorological Society
- Air Force Association
- US Naval Institute