Elaine West

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Elaine West
Birth name Margaret Elaine Brindle
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1978 - present
Rank UK-Air-OF7.svg Air Vice-Marshal
Awards Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

Air Vice-Marshal Margaret Elaine West, CBE (born 1961 or 1962), née Brindle, is a British Royal Air Force officer. She is the most senior ranking female officer in the British Armed Forces, the first to hold a non-honorary Air Vice-Marshal or equivalent rank since the Second World War, and the first to achieve that rank in the regular forces.

Early life[edit]

West was born in 1961 or 1962.[1][2] She was brought up in the Lake District.[3]

Military career[edit]

West joined the Women's Royal Air Force as an aircraftwoman in 1978 at the age of 17.[4] She ended her service in the other ranks as a senior aircraftwoman. She was commissioned on 25 February 1982 in the rank of pilot officer with seniority from 8 December 1980.[1] She was promoted to flying officer on 8 December 1982.[5] On 21 March 1983, she transferred from the General Duties (Ground) Branch to the Administrative Branch of the RAF.[6] She was promoted to flight lieutenant on 8 December 1986.[7] On 26 October 1990, she transferred from a Short Service Commission to a Permanent Commission.[8] As a part of the half-yearly promotions, she was promoted to squadron leader on 1 January 1991,[9] and to wing commander on 1 January 1997.[10]

She was promoted to air commodore on 1 July 2008.[11] She served as Head of the Defence Estates' Operations Housing, thereby being in charge of the renovation of service accommodation.[12] With her promotion to air vice-marshal in August 2013, she is the highest ranking female in the British Armed Forces and the first to hold a two-star rank.[13][4] She has been appointed Director of Projects and Programme Delivery at the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.[14]

Personal life[edit]

West married an RAF Tornado navigator. He has since retired. Together they have one son.[2]

Honours and decorations[edit]

Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png

In the 2013 New Year Honours, West was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 48947. p. 4968. 8 April 1982. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Woman RAF officer joins top military brass". BBC News. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  3. ^ Richard, Smith (23 August 2013). "Elaine West becomes highest ranked female in British armed forces ever". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Page 3 Profile: Elaine West, Air Vice-Marshal". The i. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49237. p. 764. 17 January 1983. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49336. p. 5974. 29 April 1983. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50799. p. 457. 12 January 1987. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52427. p. 1063. 21 January 1991. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52414. pp. 303–305. 7 January 1991. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  10. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 54642. pp. 217–219. 6 January 1997. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58752. p. 9841. 1 July 2008. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  12. ^ "Halton RAF families get upgraded homes". GOV.UK. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  13. ^ "Officer flies up ranks to make history". The Times. 23 August 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  14. ^ "Armed forces' first female two-star officer appointed". 22 August 2013. ITV. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  15. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60367. p. 6. 29 December 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2013.