- Cold War
Colonel Hayes was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island in 1960. He graduated from Pawtucket West High School in 1978 and entered the University of Rhode Island with the class of 1982. He enrolled in The Army ROTC program and was awarded a three-year ROTC Scholarship. He was commissioned as an Armor officer with orders for flight training. LT Hayes reported to Ft. Knox, Kentucky for Armor Officer Basic, then Airborne training at Ft. Benning, Ga. followed by Rotary Wing Flight training at Ft. Rucker, Alabama. The Army designated Aviation as a Military Branch into which he served for 26 year.
After graduating from flight school, he was assigned to the 1st Squadron 17th Cavalry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Ft. Bragg, N.C. as an AH-1 Cobra Flight leader. He progressed to Platoon leader where he flew more than 500 hours and completed 33 military Parachute jumps. As now Captain Hayes, he served as the Squadron S-4 and then as Squadron Executive Officer. Captain Hayes was assigned to the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade at Ft. Drum, N.Y. There he served as the Brigade S-4, and Commander C Troop 3-17 Cavalry. He transitioned into the OH-58 as an aero scout leader and Commander followed by being Flight Operations Officer and Squadron S-3. After completing AH-64A qualification, he was assigned as the Executive Officer of the 1st Battalion (Attack), 2d Combat Aviation Brigade, at Camp Page, Korea. Next was Joint Service at the US Pacific Command, Hawaii as Operations Officer at the Asia Pacific Center. In June 1999, he took Command of the 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment, 1st Aviation Brigade at Ft. Rucker. His unit was awarded the Army Aviation Unit of the Year. He attended the Army War College and was promoted to Colonel. His next assignment was as the Aviation Officer, XVIII Airborne Corps, followed by Brigade Command as the TRADOC Capabilities Manager for Reconnaissance and Attack Aircraft at Ft. Rucker, AL. Colonel Hayes retired from active duty in November 2008. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with four Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, the Senior Army Aviator Badge and the Parachutist Badge.
After retirement, Mark became Vice President of the CKM Corporation involved in helicopter capabilities development. In 2013, he became the Aviation Center’s Director of Global Sales and Marketing for The Boeing Company. Mark has served as the Parish Council President of his church. He is also a member of the Executive Board of Directors of the Army Aviation Museum, and an advisor to the Alabama & Florida Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Mark has been married to Karen J. McCarthy for over 38 years. Their son Jeffrey is a Major in Army Aviation and their daughter Kelly is a teacher in Fairbanks AK. Mark enjoys playing golf, staying physically active.
Colonel Hayes’ outstanding leadership as well as his devotion to the military, and his service to his community, and the University of Rhode Island, reflect great credit upon himself, his family, the United States, and the University of Rhode Island.