A former professor and dean at the Valley Forge Military College who has just returned from active duty in Afghanistan will head the two-year institution in July.

The college announced Friday that Lt. Col. John C. Church Jr. has been named president of the coed college. He will report to Col. David R. Gray, incoming president of the overall Valley Forge Military Academy & College, a Valley Forge spokeswoman said.

Church, a decorated U.S. Marine Corps veteran, just completed an active-duty assignment as the future operations plans officer for civil-military operations with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Helmand Province.

Before being activated and deployed to Afghanistan, Church directed the Service Academy Preparatory Program at Valley Forge.

The academy, which begins with seventh grade, enrolls 226 male day and boarding students. Another 283 students attend the junior college.

Col. John Ford remains headmaster of the academy, a post he's held since July, 2009.

Contact staff writer Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or at martha.woodall@phillynews.com.