Naval Aviation Museum Foundation Announces Retirement of CEO Lt. Gen. Duane Thiessen

by Katie King |

Naval Aviation Museum Foundation Announces Retirement of CEO Lt. Gen. Duane Thiessen, USMC (Ret.); Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad, USN (Ret.) Named as Successor
Pensacola, Fla. (July 10, 2020) – The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation announced the retirement of Lt. Gen. Duane Thiessen, USMC (Ret.) and named Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad, USN (Ret.) as his successor. Thiessen has served as the president and CEO for the past seven years supporting the National Naval Aviation Museum and the National Flight Academy, after retiring from the U.S. Marine Corps. Thiessen will continue his role as CEO until later this fall when Cozad will take over as CEO. The date is still to be determined.
Thiessen has been a committed steward of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation’s mission, overseeing budgeting, fundraising and administration. He has been instrumental in guiding the board and staff in setting strategy, taking action and leadership. Thiessen was instrumental in the complete build out for the National Flight Academy, the Foundation’s aviation-themed educational program. Prior to joining the Foundation, Thiessen spent 38 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, including Commanding General of the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific. 
In recapping his years with the Foundation, Thiessen said, “It’s been an honor to be a part of an organization so rich with heritage and pride, centered on Naval Aviation but dedicated to honoring the past and inspiring future generations. Will miss coming to the office and all the wonderful people we get to work with.”
“Lt. Gen. Thiessen has been a superb leader of the Foundation for the last seven years. He deftly moved the mission of the National Naval Aviation Museum and the National Flight Academy through many challenges. One behalf of the Board, we thank him and wish him well in his next endeavors,” said Vice Adm. Jim Zortman, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation.
“With Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad, we are extremely fortunate to welcome a dynamic leader as the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation President and CEO,” added Zortman. “His vision and deep roots in every part of Naval Aviation will be key to ensuring our Museum continues to grow and be an internationally recognized institution telling the story of Naval Aviation.”
Cozad becomes President and CEO of the Foundation after serving as the commander of the Naval Education and Training Command (NETC) at NAS Pensacola. Before taking command at NETC, Cozad commanded a squadron, wing and reconnaissance group. He also served as Senior Director of the White House Situation Room and led Joint Task Force Guantanamo.
“I am proud and humbled to be given the opportunity to succeed Thiessen as CEO of a truly special organization,” said Cozad. “After my 35 years in the military, I look forward to continuing the legacy of Naval Aviation.”
Media Note:For more information about the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation, contact Malerie Cates at (850) 585-2770 or
About the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation
The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation is the nonprofit, 501(c)(3), sole benefactor to the National Naval Aviation Museum—and the fuel that allows the museum to take flight. The Foundation is responsible for funding all museum operation, expansion and activity. The Foundation works diligently to raise funding through gifts and memberships. All funding, aside from Foundation staffing and operational costs, goes to the operation, maintenance and enhancement of the museum, including museum expansion, aircraft preservation, conservation and maintenance, development of new exhibits and support of day to day functions—including custodial services, marketing, operation of the Museum’s various attractions (such as our Naval Aviation Memorial Giant Screen Theater, flight simulators, Blue Angels 4D Experience and Flight Deck gift shop), as well as the production of major events at the Museum. The Foundation also supports the advancement of STEM education through the National Flight Academy, a cutting edge, aviation-themed learning experience.

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