Carlo Gagiano

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Carlo Gagiano
Born (1951-03-26) 26 March 1951 (age 66)
Bonnievale, Western Cape
Allegiance  South Africa
Service/branch  South African Air Force
Years of service 1968–2012
Rank Lieutenant General
Unit South African Air Force
Commands held Chief of the South African Air Force
Battles/wars Border War

Lieutenant-General Carlo Gagiano SM MMM (born 26 March 1951,[1] Bonnievale, Western Cape[2]) was a South African military commander and former Chief of the South African Air Force. He joined the South African Air Force in 1968, and served in the Border War in South West Africa in the 1970s.

Air Force career[edit]

Lieutenant General Gagiano joined the South African Air Force in 1968 and qualified as a pilot on the Air Macchi 326M in December 1969[3]

In 1985, he completed the South African Air Force's Senior Command and Staff Course and was subsequently appointed as the OC 3 Squadron, operating Mirage F1CZ aircraft. In 1989, he was appointed as the Officer Commanding 89 Combat Flying School, flying Cheetah D aircraft.

From 1991 to 1994, he was the South African military attaché to Israel.[4] On his return from Israel, Gagiano attended the South African National Defence Force's Joint Staff Course. He served as Inspector-General of the Air Force from 1998 to 2000, as Chief Director: Operations Development[5] from 2000 to 2005, and was promoted to Chief of the Air Force in 2005.[6]

State of the Air Force[edit]

In October 2006, he gave an interview to Business Day about the state of the SA Air Force, saying:[7]

The paper further quoted Gagiano as saying:

In 2012 Minister of Defence Lindiwe Sisulu cancelled a parliamentary committee appearance by Gagiano after it appeared that he would make public detrimental information about the state of the service.[8]


In 2011, Lt. General Gagiano tendered his resignation, following problems with the aircraft that was used to take Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on an official visit to Finland. The aircraft suffered mechanical problems and the trip had to be cancelled. Lt. General Gagiano accepted responsibility for the situation and tendered his resignation, however Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu refused to accept his resignation.[9]


Lieutenant General Gagiano handed over command to Lieutenant General Fabian Msimang in a ceremony on 28 September 2012.

Aircraft Flown[edit]

Awards and Decorations[edit]

Lieutenant General Gagiano has been awarded the following medals and decorations:[10]:10 (Photo)

See also[edit]


Military offices
Preceded by
Roelf Beukes
Chief of the South African Air Force
2005 – 2012
Succeeded by
Fabian Msimang
Preceded by
HAP Potgieter
Chief Director Ops Development Joint Operations
2000 – 2003
Succeeded by
MP Janse van Rensburg
Preceded by
Lucky Ngema
Inspector General South African Air Force Succeeded by
CD Eksteen