Commemorative Air Force General Staff 2023 Updates
Dallas, TX (January 13, 2023) – The Commemorative Air Force’s first General Staff (Board of Directors) meeting of 2023 welcomed three new incoming members, and two incumbent members. Following the outcome of the 2022 election, Neils Agather and Eric Zipkin will continue to serve on the General Staff and John Cyrier, Troy Fitting, and Gena Linebarger have joined the board. During the first meeting of 2023, Jordan Brown, who has served on the General Staff for five years, was elected for his second term as Chief of Staff for 2023.
“The role of the General Staff is extremely important in our organization. This group is responsible for setting strategic goals and ensuring the CAF performs our mission in a way that honors these objectives. This group speaks for and represents the CAF membership at large. Traditionally these members have different backgrounds, diverse skills, and reside in different locations that bring different perspectives and ideas to the table.“ said Hank Coates, CAF President/CEO.
The 11-person General Staff is the governing body of the CAF. They meet throughout the year to monitor the health and sustainability of the organization. General Staff members are voted on by CAF members through an election process that is overseen by Weaver & Tidwell, LLP. Meetings of the General Staff are open to all CAF Colonel members. Agenda items are available on request. To request an item be added to the agenda, contact the Chief of Staff, CAF President, or Donna Blalack at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact members of the General Staff, see upcoming meeting times, and read past meeting minutes visit https://commemorativeairforce.org/pages/GeneralStaffMinutes. About the Incoming General Staff members:
Colonel John Cyrier is a Life Member of the CAF. He got the aviation bug at the age of eleven when flying in the front seat of his brother’s J-3 Cub. Cyrier was born and raised in Hurst, Texas, and went to Texas A&M University where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. He also served as the Commander of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band.
Cyrier recently sold his commercial construction company that served Central Texas with two offices and 78 employees. Cyrier founded and served as CEO of Sabre Commercial (named after the F-86 Sabre) which during his tenure won Best Places to Work and ranked in the Fastest 50 Growing Companies in Central Texas multiple times. He was nominated four times as Best CEO in Central Texas by the Austin Business Journal.
Cyrier served as a Texas State Representative serving District 17, also serving as Chairman of the General Aviation Caucus, Chairman of the Texas Sunset Commission, and Chairman of the House Committee on Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. After serving on the Caldwell County Commissioner’s Court for three years, and as a State Representative for eight, Cyrier decided not to seek re-election for a fifth House term which ended in January 2023. He is currently the Chairman of the San Marcos Airport Advisory Board and working on commercial real estate redevelopment projects. Cyrier is a Captain in the Texas State Guard.
Cyrier and his wife Rachelle live on a ranch in Lockhart, Texas just south of Austin. There he has a grass runway and keeps his 1941 Stearman which he has owned for over 16 years. He also owns and flies an RV-4, 1964 Baron, Experimental Woody Pusher, and is part-owner with his brother Mark of a T-28C. Cyrier is an active member of the Central Texas Wing where he sponsors and flies their T-6 Texan and the P-39 Airacobra. John is also a member of the B-29/ B-24 Squadron and has gone on the CAF Airpower History Tour giving rides in the AT-6 Texan Nella.
Colonel Troy D. Fitting is a life member and has been a CAF member for over 17 years. He is a member of several different CAF Units. He has held the positions of Squadron Leader, Executive Officer, Safety Officer for the Maxine Flournoy Third Coast Squadron, and Detachment Leader for the Flight Line Service Detachment. Fitting’s dedication and devotion to the CAF started in 1973 when his mother Phyllis Fitting, who worked at CAF Headquarters in Harlingen, Texas, took him to his first airshow at the tender age of one. His love for the organization grew over the years with the opportunities to meet CAF legends like Cols Lloyd P. Nolen, Lefty Gardner, Archie Donahue, Eddie May, "Tennessee" Ernie Ford, Ray Norton, and Vic Agather. He strives to keep the CAF motto, "Lest We Forget" alive by honoring those who gave their all to keep this great nation free, educating future generations about their sacrifices, and inspiring new members to get involved in this great organization. Fitting's actions to step forward and accept any duty shows his true passion for the CAF.
Since 1992, Fitting has had a 30+ year career in the family-owned HVAC & Commercial Refrigeration business. His family also owns and operates L&T Farms in Harlingen, Texas. He also serves his community by volunteering with several different non-profits. He is the Committee Chairman for the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show Rabbit Committee, a Club Manager of the Circle F 4-H Club in Harlingen, and Vice Chair on the board of the Cameron County 4-H Council Finance Committee.
Colonel Gena Linebarger joined the CAF in 1997 and is a Life Member and has been continuously active with the CAF since. In her 25 years as a High Sky Wing member, 2022 marks her 12th year serving in the Wing Leader position. The High Sky Wing experienced tough times when the CAF moved from Midland, but, due to Linebarger’s leadership, the Wing continued to be successful.
Linebarger belongs to various CAF Units including the Blastards Pyro Unit where she holds the rank of Shooter in Charge. She has served the national organization on the Nominating, Membership, and Awards Committees. Linebarger is also Director for the Midland AIRSHO and the Airshow Chairperson for the CAF Wings Over Dallas WWII Airshow. She is active in her community by serving on the Airport Advisory Board at Midland International Air and Space Port.
Linebarger has a dedicated passion for the CAF and desires to see it continue to grow and remain the leader in the Warbird aviation community. Membership is a vital part of the CAF's existence. Being involved in various Units has given Linebarger a Unit level perspective on how to help keep Units engaged in CAF and promote membership and retention. Her goal is to understand and help other CAF Units thrive as she takes their concerns back to the General Staff.
Linebarger lives in Midland, Texas with her husband David, who is also a CAF Life Member. Their son Jeremy follows in their footsteps and is a CAF Life Member.