|Sir Angus Houston|
9 June 1947 |
|Service/branch||Royal Australian Air Force|
|Years of service||1970–2011|
|Rank||Air Chief Marshal|
|Commands held||Chief of the Defence Force
Chief of Air Force
No. 86 Wing
5th Aviation Regiment
No. 9 Squadron
|Awards||Knight of the Order of Australia (General Division)
Companion of the Order of Australia (Military Division)
Air Force Cross
|Other work||Chairman of the Council for the Order of Australia
Chairman of Airservices Australia
Chairman of the ANZAC Centenary Advisory Board
Air Chief Marshal Sir Allan Grant "Angus" Houston AK, AC (Mil), AFC (born 9 June 1947) is a retired senior officer of the Royal Australian Air Force. He served as Chief of Air Force (CAF) from 20 June 2001 and then as the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) from 4 July 2005. He retired from the military on 3 July 2011.
Since then Houston has been appointed to a number of positions, including chairman of Airservices Australia. In March 2014 he was appointed to head the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) during the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, and in the Australia Day Honours of 2015, he was knighted for this service.
Houston was born on 9 June 1947 in Ayrshire, Scotland and educated at Strathallan School in Forgandenny, Perthshire. He emigrated to Australia in 1968 to work as a jackaroo on a cattle station in north-west Western Australia. It was there that his workmates dubbed him "Angus", due to his strong Scottish accent.
After graduation from Flying Instructors Course in 1975, Houston completed several instructional tours on Macchi MB-326H, British Aircraft Corporation Strikemaster and Iroquois aircraft. A posting to the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) from 1976–1978 was followed by two years at No. 9 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley. In late 1979, Houston was posted to Hill Air Force Base, Utah U.S.A. for exchange flying duties with a United States Air Force helicopter unit.
After a further posting to No. 9 Squadron as the Executive Officer, and staff training at RAAF Staff College, Houston was posted to the Department of Air (Development Division) where he was involved in the Black Hawk helicopter Project. In 1987, Houston assumed command of No. 9 Squadron to introduce the Black Hawk helicopter, to relocate the unit from Amberley to Townsville, Queensland, and to transfer the capability to the Australian Army. In 1989 he served one year as a Squadron Commander with the 5th Aviation Regiment. Houston was admitted as a Member of the Order of Australia in 1990 for his work in the transfer of responsibility for Blackhawk operations.
Following graduation from Joint Services Staff College, Houston was posted to the Joint Operations staff at Headquarters Australian Defence Force and was involved in strategic planning during the Persian Gulf War of 1990–1991.
On promotion to group captain in July 1992, he assumed the post of Director Air Force Policy and negotiated the establishment of the RSAF Flying School at RAAF Base Pearce. After completing a C-130H Hercules conversion in 1993, Houston commanded No. 86 Wing from 1994 to 1995.
Houston attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in London in 1996. He was Chief of Staff, Headquarters Australian Theatre from 1997 to 1999, Commander Integrated Air Defence System from 1999 to 2000 and Head Strategic Command from 17 August 2000.
Houston was appointed as Chief of Air Force (CAF) on 20 June 2001 and, in the 2003 Australia Day Honours, advanced to Officer of the Order of Australia. As acting Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) in 2001, Houston played a central role in the Children Overboard Affair. At a Senate inquiry in February 2002, Houston challenged the then government's claim made during the 2001 election campaign, that seafaring asylum seekers had thrown children overboard in a presumed ploy to secure rescue and passage to Australia.
On 4 July 2005, he was promoted to air chief marshal and appointed CDF. In the Australia Day Honours of 26 January 2008, he was advanced to a Companion of the Order of Australia. In March 2008, Houston's appointment was extended to 3 July 2011.
After his retirement from the CDF position, the Australian Government appointed Houston as Chair of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board on 6 July 2011, with the remit to "provide strategic advice and recommendations on the planning and implementation of Anzac Centenary events". On 6 December 2011, it was announced that the Australian Government had appointed Houston as the next chairman of Airservices Australia on the grounds of his aviation, governance and leadership experience.
In June 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced that Houston would chair an expert group that would examine asylum seeker policy and prepare a report recommending a solution for the Government's consideration.
On 30 March 2014, Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced that Houston will head the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), based in Perth, formed to oversee the efforts to find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. At that time, the plane had been missing for just over three weeks since its disappearance on about Saturday, 8 March 2014.
On 21 July 2014, following the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster Houston was appointed the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Ukraine, with the objective to "lead Australia’s efforts on the ground in Ukraine to help recover, identify and repatriate Australians killed in the MH17 crash".
On 26 January 2015, Houston was appointed a Knight of the Order of Australia (AK) for his service to Australia and commitment to the MH17 and MH 370 disasters. Saying he was "surprised and deeply humbled," he said he would prefer to be called by his name instead of "Sir Angus." "It's a great honour to be recognised in this way. But I'd like people to still call me Angus. That's probably the way I am," he said.
Houston and his wife Liz, who is a teacher, have three sons.
Honours and awards
|Knight of the Order of Australia (AK)||26 January 2015|
|Companion of the Order of Australia (AC)||(Military division) 2008|
|Officer of the Order of Australia (AO)||(Military division) 2003|
|Member of the Order of Australia (AM)||(Military division) 1990|
|Air Force Cross (AFC)||1980|
|Australian Service Medal 1945-1975||PNG Clasp|
|Defence Force Service Medal with Federation Star||40–44 years of service|
|Australian Defence Medal|
|Meritorious Service Medal||(Singapore) 1 August 2003|
|Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Military Service||(Malaysia)|
|Commander of the Legion of Honour||(France)|
|Distinguished Service Order||(Singapore) 24 August 2007|
|Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste||(East Timor) 2 February 2011|
|Commander of the Legion of Merit||(United States) 11 May 2011 |
|Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau||(Netherlands) (Military division) - 18 May 2011|
- "Designations and Insignia Ordinance, section 5". Order of Australia booklet. Governor General of Australia. 21 May 2009. p. 40. Retrieved 4 Feb 2015.
- "Knight of the Order of Australia". Australia Day Honours 2015. gg.gov.au. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
For extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to Australia, through distinguished service in the Australian Defence Force, continued commitment to serve the nation in leadership roles, particularly the national responses to the MH370 and MH17 disasters, and in a variety of roles in the community.
- "Air Chief Marshals". Air Marshals of the RAAF. Royal Australian Air Force Air Power Development Centre. Retrieved 27 July 2010.
- Brendan Nicholson (18 April 2005). "Ex-jackaroo passes muster in more than a stock career". The Age.
- Dapin, Mark (11 June 2011). "An Officer and a Gentleman". Good Weekend. The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 12. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- DeSilva-Ranasinghe, Sergei. "I See the Indian Ocean to be as Important as the Pacific". Future Directions International. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- It's an Honour – Air Force Cross – 14 June 1980
Citation: 9 Sqn RAAF – Helicopter rescue off Evans Head – For devotion to duty as a pilot of No9 Sqn RAAF
- It's an Honour – Member of the Order of Australia – 26 January 1990
Citation: For service to the RAAF as CO No9 Sqn and subsequently Officer Commanding 5th Aviation Regiment
- "Officer of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Australian Government. 26 January 2003.
Citation: For distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force and the Royal Australian Air Force in senior command appointments.
- Forbes, Mark; Gordon, Michael; Taylor, Kerry (20 February 2002). "Defence chief told Reith: no children overboard". The Age. p. 1. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
- "New defence chief dismisses 'children overboard' shadow". ABC News Onine. 18 April 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2010.
- "Companion of the Order of Australia". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. Australian Government. 28 January 2008.
Citation: For eminent service to the Australian Defence Force as Chief of the Defence Force.
- "New Defence leadership team announced". www.defence.gov.au. 19 March 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "100 years of ANZAC - Anzac Centenary Program 2014-2018 - Advisory Board". Anzaccentenary.gov.au. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "Houston to chair Airservices Australia". ABC News (Abc.net.au). 6 December 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
- ABC Radio Australia, 'Houston to lead asylum policy panel after Senate rejects bill 29 June 2012
- "Objects seen in jet search are fishing equipment". News.msn.com. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
- Milman, Oliver (30 March 2014). "Flight MH370: former Australian defence chief to co-ordinate search". The Guardian (www.theguardian.com). Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "AIR CHIEF MARSHAL ANGUS HOUSTON TO LEAD AUSTRALIA'S RESPONSE TO MH17 INVESTIGATION AND RECOVERY EFFORTS". Prime Minister. 21 July 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- AAP (2015-01-26). "Just call me Angus, says newest knight". The Courier & Mail. Retrieved 2015-01-26.
- "Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, AC, AFC Chief of the Defence Force". Department of Defence. 9 March 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- Mark Dodd (2010) Angus Houston takes leave for prostate surgery, 26 July 2010, The Australian.
- CDF to take leave for medical treatment, Defence Media Release MSPA 319/10, 26 July 2010.
- It's an Honour – Centenary Medal – 1 January 2001
Citation: For outstanding service as Chief of Air Force
- "Australian Chief of Air Force Receives Prestigious Military Medal". MINDEF Singapore. 1 August 2003. Retrieved 10 July 2007.
- "President Nathan Confers Top Military Award on Chief of the Australian Defence Force". MINDEF Singapore. 24 August 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2007.
- "Order of Timor-Leste, Decree Law 20/2009 of 6 May" (PDF). www.unmit.org. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "Chief of Defence Force receives Order of Timor Leste" (Press release). Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication-www.defence.gov.au. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
- "Legion of Merit". Photos/Videos. U.S. Department of Defense. 11 May 2001. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
- Defence head awarded Dutch honour, 18 May 2011[dead link]
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