Geoff Shepherd

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Geoffrey David Shepherd
US Navy 070717-N-8591H-040 Geoffrey David Shepherd, Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshal, salutes as he passes side boys aboard the USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63).jpg
Air Marshal Shepherd on board the USS Kitty Hawk
Nickname(s) Shep
Born (1952-01-24) 24 January 1952 (age 65)
Brisbane, Queensland
Allegiance Australia
Service/branch Royal Australian Air Force
Years of service 1971–2008
Rank Air Marshal
Commands held Chief of Air Force (2005–08)
RAAF Air Command (2003–05)
No. 82 Wing (1995–98)
No. 6 Squadron (1991–93)
Awards Officer of the Order of Australia
Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States)
Meritorious Service Medal (Singapore)
Commander of the National Order of Merit (France)

Air Marshal Geoffrey David Shepherd AO (born 24 January 1952) is a retired senior officer in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), who served as Chief of Air Force from 2005 until 2008.

Service history[edit]

Shepherd commenced his RAAF service with the 1971 RAAF Academy intake, graduating in December 1974 with a Bachelor of Science (Physics) degree from the University of Melbourne followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Military Aviation.

He had operational flying tours on Mirage III fighter aircraft at RAAF Base Butterworth in Malaysia, the F-111 strike bomber at RAAF Base Amberley, both as a line pilot and as the Training Flight Commander and as a flying instructor at No 1 Flying Training School RAAF Base Point Cook. He has approximately 4500 flying hours, including 2500 hours in the F-111.

He has held staff appointments at 82 Wing (F-111) HQ, as the Assistant Defence Adviser at the Australian High Commission in Singapore, and in Force Development in the field of capability analysis. He also undertook staff training at the Joint Services Staff College.

His command appointments were Commanding Officer of No. 6 Squadron(F-111), in the rank of wing commander, and Officer Commanding No. 82 Wing (F-111) as a group captain.

He was promoted to air commodore on 1 December 1998 and served two years as the Chief of Staff at HQ Air Command. He was the Director General Operations at the Defence Signals Directorate from January 2001 until October 2002, when he moved on to become Director-General Joint Operations and Plans in Strategic Operations Division.

Air Commodore Shepherd was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2000 Honours List.[1]

He was promoted to air vice marshal on 2 December 2003 and appointed Air Commander Australia taking effect 15 December 2003.

On 23 May 2005, the Minister for Defence announced that, upon promotion to air marshal (as of 4 July 2005), Shepherd would succeed Angus Houston as the Chief of Air Force (CAF). In June 2006 he was elevated to Officer of the Order of Australia.[2]

On 4 July 2008 his 37-year career in the RAAF came to an end with his retirement. His last official function was to be the Reviewing Officer of the Officer Training School Graduation Parade, held at RAAF Base East Sale, however due to unwanted weather conditions the Parade was cancelled. He was given one final stairway guard by the young men and women of the Australian Air Force Cadets, who were on a camp at RAAF Base East Sale at the time.

He was succeeded as CAF by Air Marshal Mark Binskin.


Shepherd is known throughout the RAAF for calling out "Cooee", a distinctive Australian vocalisation used mainly in the outback, with which he ended his first address as Chief of Air Force.[3]

He attended Brisbane State High School.

He is married to Anne, with whom he has two sons. His interests include gardening, rugby league football, travelling and understanding other cultures.

Honours and awards[edit]

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Australian Service Medal ribbon.png DFSM with Rosette x 4.png

Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) ribbon.png Ordre national du Merite Commandeur ribbon.svg

Order of Australia (Military) ribbon.png Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) (2006)[2]
Member of the Order of Australia (AM) (2000)[1]
Australian Service Medal ribbon.png Australian Service Medal with SE ASIA clasp
DFSM with Rosette x 4.png Defence Force Service Medal with 4 clasps 35–39 years service
Australian Defence Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Australian Defence Medal
US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png Commander of the Legion of Merit (United States) 18 January 2007[4]
Pingat Jasa Gemilang (Tentera) ribbon.png Meritorious Service Medal (Singapore) 8 May 2007[5]
Ordre national du Merite Commandeur ribbon.svg Commander of the National Order of Merit (France) 2015


  1. ^ a b It's an Honour – Member of the Order of Australia – 26 January 2000
    Citation: For exceptional service to the Royal Australian Air Force in the field of Operations, particularly as the Officer Commanding of Number 82 Wing.
  2. ^ a b It's an Honour – Officer of the Order of Australia – 12 June 2006
    Citation: For distinguished service to the Australian Defence Force in senior command and staff appointments.
  3. ^ Shepherd, Geoffrey (19 March 2007). "CAF Closing Address" (PDF). 2007 Air Show Conference. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 September 2007. Retrieved 10 October 2007. 
  4. ^ "Australian Air Chief visits Bolling". Bolling Air Force Base. 19 January 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2007. 
  5. ^ "Australian Chief of Air Force Receives Prestigious Military Medal". MINDEF Singapore News Releases. 25 May 2007. Retrieved 28 November 2007. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Geoff Shepherd at Wikimedia Commons

Military offices
Preceded by
Air Marshal Angus Houston
Chief of Air Force
Succeeded by
Air Marshal Mark Binskin
Preceded by
Air Vice Marshal John Kindler
Air Commander Australia
Succeeded by
Air Vice Marshal John Quaife