Colonel Mark Bortnem grew up in Milford, MI, and has been a Marine for over 30 years, first enlisting in the Marine Corps in 1991.
As an enlisted Marine, Colonel Bortnem served as a Supply Administration and Operations Specialist in Camp Lejeune, NC, before being selected for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program. From 1994 to 1998, Colonel Bortnem attended The Ohio State University, where he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, ending his time as an enlisted Marine and beginning his career as an officer.
From 2001 to 2002, Colonel Bortnem attended flight school in Pensacola, FL. Graduating with distinction, he was designated as a Naval Flight Officer in 2002. He then joined Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 332, where he deployed several times, including to Al-Asad Airbase, Iraq, flying combat missions in support of Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. From 2006-2009, Colonel Bortnem completed pilot conversion training at Naval Air Stations Corpus Christi and Kingsville. Graduating with distinction, he was designated as a Naval Aviator and served as a Flight Instructor as part of the Selectively Retained Graduate program. From 2010 to 2014, Colonel Bortnem was assigned to MCAS Miramar where he completed F/A-18 pilot training and was assigned as the Executive Officer with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 and Operations Officer with Marine Aircraft Group Eleven. During this time, Colonel Bortnem deployed twice to Japan and achieved all advanced qualifications as an F/A-18 pilot. From 2014-2016, Colonel Bortnem was assigned to Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada where he served as an Exchange Officer with the Royal Canadian Air Force. During this time, Colonel Bortnem deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation INHERENT RESOLVE, serving as both the head of Standardization and Evaluation and also as Officer-In-Charge. Upon his return to Canada, he was assigned as Commanding Officer of 401 Tactical Fighter Squadron, becoming the first US officer to command a Canadian squadron.
In 2016, Colonel Bortnem was assigned to Camp Smith, HI, where he was assigned as the Marine Forces Pacific Air Officer and Director of Aviation Operations. From 2018 to 2020, Colonel Bortnem was the Commanding Officer of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232 in Miramar, CA. During this time, he deployed to Japan and the squadron was recognized as the recipient of the Robert M. Hanson award as Strike Fighter Squadron of the Year. In 2020, Colonel Bortnem was assigned as a student to Air War College in Montgomery, AL. In 2022, Colonel Bortnem was assigned as Director of the Commandant of the Marine Corps Safety Division.
Colonel Bortnem has served in a wide variety of global locations, including the pacific region, the Middle East, and the arctic. He has nearly 3000 flight hours, including more than 500 hours of combat time.
Colonel Bortnem is a graduate of The Ohio State University (1998, BA Political Science) and the US Air Force’s Air War College (2021, MA Strategic Studies).
In July 2023, Colonel Bortnem assumed command of Marine Corp Air Station Beaufort.