Angus Houston

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Angus Houston
Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC.jpg
Angus Houston at the 2010 Anzac Day National Ceremony, Canberra.
Nickname(s) Angus
Born (1947-06-09) 9 June 1947 (age 67)
Ayrshire, Scotland
Allegiance  Australia
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 Companion of the Order of Australia
Air Force Cross
Complete list
Other work Chairman of the Order of Australia Council
Chairman of Airservices Australia
Chairman of the ANZAC Centenary Advisory Board

Air Chief Marshal Allan Grant "Angus" Houston ACAFC (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.

Early life[edit]

Houston was born on 9 June 1947 in Ayrshire, Scotland and educated at Strathallan School in Forgandenny, Perthshire. He emigrated to Australia in 1968[1] 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.[2]

Service career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Houston joined the RAAF as a cadet pilot in 1970 and spent the early part of his career flying UH-1 Iroquois helicopters in various parts of Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

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.

In 1980 he was awarded the Air Force Cross for an open sea rescue in gale force winds off the coast of New South Wales in 1979.[3]

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.[4]

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.

Senior command[edit]

2008 Anzac Day Service at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra (left to right):Angus Houston, Murray Gleeson, Mrs. and Jon Stanhope, Mrs and Peter Cosgrove, Kevin Rudd.
Houston speaking to the media at a JACC press conference in Perth, 14 April 2014

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.[5] 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.[6][7]

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.[8] In March 2008, Houston's appointment was extended to 3 July 2011.[9]

Later life[edit]

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".[10] 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.[11]

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.[12]

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.[13][14]

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".[15]

Personal life[edit]

Houston and his wife Liz, who is a teacher, have three sons.[16]

On 26 July 2010, Houston announced he would be taking medical leave to deal with prostate issues.[17][18]

Honours and awards[edit]

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png

UK AFC ribbon.svg Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 ribbon.png Centenary Medal (Australia) ribbon.png DFSM with Fed Star.png

Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) ribbon.png Order of Military Service (BAT).gif Legion Honneur Commandeur ribbon.svg

Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) ribbon.png Order of Timor-Leste.png US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Commander BAR.png

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) (Military division) 2008[8]
Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) (Military division) 2003[5]
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) (Military division) 1990[4]
UK AFC ribbon.svg Air Force Cross (AFC) 1980[3]
Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 ribbon.png Australian Service Medal 1945-1975 PNG Clasp
Centenary Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Centenary Medal 2001[19]
DFSM with Fed Star.png Defence Force Service Medal with Federation Star 40–44 years of service
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal
Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) ribbon.png Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) (Singapore) (Meritorious Service Medal – Military)
1 August 2003[20]
Order of Military Service (BAT).gif Panglima Gagah Angkatan Tentera (Malaysia) (Knight Grand Commander of the Order of Military Service)
Legion Honneur Commandeur ribbon.svg Légion d'honneur, Commandeur (France) (Commander of the Legion of Honour)
Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) ribbon.png Darjah Utama Bakti Cemerlang (Tentera) (Singapore) (Distinguished Service Order – Military)
24 August 2007[21]
Order of Timor-Leste.png Medal of the Order of Timor-Leste[22] 2 February 2011[23]
US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States) 11 May 2011 [24]
NLD Order of Orange-Nassau - Commander BAR.png Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau (Netherlands) (Military division - "with crossed swords")
18 May 2011[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Air Chief Marshals". Air Marshals of the RAAF. Royal Australian Air Force Air Power Development Centre. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  2. ^ Brendan Nicholson (18 April 2005). "Ex-jackaroo passes muster in more than a stock career". The Age. 
  3. ^ a b 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
  4. ^ a b 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
  5. ^ a b "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.
  6. ^ Forbes, Mark; Gordon, Michael; Taylor, Kerry (20 February 2002). "Defence chief told Reith: no children overboard". The Age. p. 1. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "New defence chief dismisses 'children overboard' shadow". ABC News Onine. 18 April 2005. Retrieved 13 February 2010. 
  8. ^ a b "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.
  9. ^ "New Defence leadership team announced". www.defence.gov.au. 19 March 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "100 years of ANZAC - Anzac Centenary Program 2014-2018 - Advisory Board". Anzaccentenary.gov.au. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "Houston to chair Airservices Australia". ABC News (Abc.net.au). 6 December 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  12. ^ ABC Radio Australia, 'Houston to lead asylum policy panel after Senate rejects bill 29 June 2012
  13. ^ "Objects seen in jet search are fishing equipment". News.msn.com. 31 March 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014. 
  14. ^ Milman, Oliver (30 March 2014). "Flight MH370: former Australian defence chief to co-ordinate search". The Guardian (www.theguardian.com). Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  15. ^ "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. 
  16. ^ "Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, AC, AFC Chief of the Defence Force". Department of Defence. 9 March 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  17. ^ Mark Dodd (2010) Angus Houston takes leave for prostate surgery, 26 July 2010, The Australian.
  18. ^ CDF to take leave for medical treatment, Defence Media Release MSPA 319/10, 26 July 2010.
  19. ^ It's an Honour – Centenary Medal – 1 January 2001
    Citation: For outstanding service as Chief of Air Force
  20. ^ "Australian Chief of Air Force Receives Prestigious Military Medal". MINDEF Singapore. 1 August 2003. Retrieved 10 July 2007. 
  21. ^ "President Nathan Confers Top Military Award on Chief of the Australian Defence Force". MINDEF Singapore. 24 August 2007. Retrieved 24 September 2007. 
  22. ^ "Order of Timor-Leste, Decree Law 20/2009 of 6 May" (PDF). www.unmit.org. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 7 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "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. 
  24. ^ "Legion of Merit". Photos/Videos. U.S. Department of Defense. 11 May 2001. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  25. ^ Defence head awarded Dutch honour, 18 May 2011[dead link]

External links[edit]

Copyright photos
Military offices
Preceded by
General Peter Cosgrove
Chief of Defence Force
2005–2011
Succeeded by
General David Hurley
Preceded by
Air Marshal Errol McCormack
Chief of Air Force
2001–2005
Succeeded by
Air Marshal Geoff Shepherd