Yaeger Takes Command of Arizona Wing
Col. Linda L. Yaeger assumed command of the Arizona Wing in a ceremony Jan. 6 in Phoenix, . succeeding Col. Robert Pinckard after completion of his four-year term.
Col. Martha Morris, Southwest Region commander as well as Pinckard’s immediate predecessor as wing commander, presided over the ceremony at Arizona National Guard headquarters.
Yaeger spoke afterward about her “commander’s intent,” a focus for her three-year term.
“Leadership is not about being in charge,” she said. “It is about caring for those under your command. Volunteers need to believe they are making a difference.”
Yaeger highlighted the work of several high-performing teams in the Arizona Wing, asking members of those teams to stand and saying they “have been extraordinarily successful in actively delivering improvements to the communities we serve.”
“Now is the time to increase our community conversations about Civil Air Patrol successes, looking for those who share our aviation-related interests and core values,” she said. “New members need to be immediately engaged. Help them identify their interests while learning about Civil Air Patrol and the diversity of opportunities.
“My leadership advice is: Do not step on their enthusiasm.”
Yaeger predicted some significant changes during her term as commander, including building on relationships with state and federal partners to expand services offered, undertaking infrastructure projects with funds provided by the state Legislature, and continuing efforts by the wing’s advanced technology team to develop new and better ways to take on challenges in search and rescue and disaster relief.
Looking to get involved in aviation, Yaeger joined Civil Air Patrol as a cadet in Columbus, Ohio. She achieved the grade of cadet captain before graduating from high school. After four years in ROTC program at Ohio State University, she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force.
During her Air Force career, she was assigned to Headquarters Air Force, Intelligence Plans and Programs, during Operation Desert Storm. She also served with Headquarters U.S. Air Forces Europe, Tactical Air Command, and Pacific Command. Yaeger retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Air Force in 2001 after nearly 25 years.
Yaeger served previously as the Arizona Wing’s chief of staff, inspector general, mission support group commander, and director of education and training and also commanded the 388th Composite Squadron. She holds operational qualifications as mission scanner, mission safety officer, aircraft operations branch director, planning section chief, operations section chief, and incident commander.
As a three-year member of the national Leadership Development Working Group, Yaeger developed squadron-level staff and leadership lessons that, along with related courses, replaced CAP’s legacy professional development program with a more flexible education and training program. She remains active as a Volunteer University instructor, primarily teaching Level IV and V courses.
Yaeger also served as a National Emergency Services Academy Mobile Training Team instructor for Federal Emergency Management Agency Incident Command System courses. She holds CAP specialty track master ratings in administration, personnel, professional development, and command with a senior rating in inspector general, and technician ratings in five additional specialties.
Maj. Margot Myers
Public Affairs Officer