Henry ‘Hank’ Coates to Lead CAF

The CAF formally announced today at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 that retired naval aviator Henry "Hank" Coates will become the organization's latest President/CEO. (image via CAF)

It has been almost a year since Steve Brown stepped down as Chief Executive Officer of the Commemorative Air Force, and during that time the organization has been searching for a new permanent staff member to take over this challenging position. Today at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018, the CAF formally announced their choice. We thought our readers would be interested to learn a little more about this former U.S. Naval Aviator, and wish him a successful tenure at the helm of what is, in many ways, the world’s most important vintage military flying museum.

(Oshkosh, WI – July 23, 2018) The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) announced today that its General Staff (Board of Directors) has chosen Henry “Hank” Coates to serve as the new President/CEO of the organization, effective immediately.“We are very enthusiastic to bring on Hank as our new president,” said CAF Chief of Staff, Doug Rozendaal. “He will play a key role in our organization’s leadership and is coming to us at a great time—in a period of remarkable growth and with tremendous opportunities in front of us. We have thoughtfully spent the past few months seeking out the best person to lead, inspire, energize, and connect with all of the important people and businesses that make our organization work. We just knew he was our guy and are very confident that Hank will take our vision and strategy for the organization and move it forward.”

Hank Coates has over thirty-four years of professional experience, nearly twenty-three of which were spent in the service as a member of the US Navy. Hank attended officer candidate school and flight training in Pensacola, Florida. Upon earning his Wings of Gold, Hank spent his military career as a naval officer and aviator. He flew numerous aircraft throughout his tenure and spent two tours directing foreign military flight training. Hank also worked as a fixed wing flight instructor, as well as serving in the role of senior instructor for new flight instructors. He concluded his Navy career while serving as Executive Officer at NAS Meridian.

Upon retiring from the Navy in 2008, he became the Director of Quality Assurance and Emergency Engineering Solutions at an industrial construction firm serving the Gulf Coast oil and gas industry. He led his staff to implement a superior quality management system and enhanced vocational training. In 2012, Hank returned to the field of aviation to become the President of Aerosim AFA, a multi-million-dollar flight training operation. There he built a team that delivered world-class flight training to those seeking to become fully qualified, professional airline pilots. It was in this role that he became committed to attracting more people to the field of aviation.

“World War II was an event that touched every person then,” Hank Coates recently declared, “and, in many ways, formed the world in which we live now. It was a great victory for America because so many men and women sacrificed, worked very hard, and stood up against those who threatened freedom. The CAF is unique in that it doesn’t stop at preserving history; it extends to honor the people who contributed to that history, and then goes even further to leverage the amazing aircraft and stories of that era, to inspire and motivate new generations. And what really impresses me about the CAF is how much passion you see from all the people involved. From employees, members, and donors—they all share a fierce commitment to the CAF’s mission, and I’m really excited to be a part of it.”


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