Russell La Forte

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Air Commodore Russell William 'Russ' La Forte, CBE is a British Royal Air Force officer. He is currently serving as Commander of the British Forces South Atlantic Islands and previously served as Commandant-General of the RAF Regiment.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1960 to Edward La Forte, he was educated at Manor Primary School, Didcot, and Wallingford Grammar School, Wallingford, Berkshire. He was a member of the Air Training Corps as a teenager.[1]

La Forte joined the military after leaving school, rather than attend university. In later life, he studied history through the Open University, a distance learning institution. He graduated in 1994 with a First Class Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree. He graduated from King's College London in 2001 with a Master of Arts (MA) degree in defence studies.[2]

Military career[edit]

In 1978, La Forte joined the RAF Regiment as a gunner.[3] He served tours in West Germany and in Northern Ireland during The Troubles.[2]

On 20 May 1982, the then Senior Aircraftman La Forte was commissioned into the Security Branch of the Royal Air Force as a pilot officer with seniority from 25 September 1980. He was given the service number 8174289Q.[4] He was promoted to flight lieutenant on 25 September 1986.[5] As part of the half-yearly promotions, he was promoted to squadron leader on 1 July 1991,[6] and to wing commander on 1 January 1999.[7]

He was promoted to group captain on 1 January 2004.[8] From 2007 to 2009, he served as Station Commander of RAF Honington. He then attended the Higher Command and Staff Course at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.[9] He then served as Commandant-General of the RAF Regiment from February 2010 to January 2012.[10] In December 2011, he was appointed Assistant Chief of Staff Training, HQ No. 22 Group.[3] In March 2013, he was appointed Commander British Force South Atlantic Islands.[11][12]

Honours and decorations[edit]

In the 1995 New Year Honours, La Forte was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).[13] He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Queen's Birthday Honours.[14][15]

He was appointed Aide de Camp (ADC) to Queen Elizabeth II on 1 November 2007.[16]


  1. ^ Allen, Emily (18 December 2007). "Airman to serve the Queen". The Oxford Times. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "AIR COMMODORE R W LA FORTE C BE MA BA RAF" (pdf). Media. Royal British Legion. 9 March 14. Retrieved 18 March 2015.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ a b "RAF HONINGTON NAMES A NEW ROAD AFTER ITS OUTGOING COMMANDANT GENERAL". RAF Honington. 3 February 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  4. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 49028. p. 8228. 21 June 1982. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 50696. p. 13878. 27 October 1986. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  6. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 52591. pp. 10091–10093. 1 July 1991. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  7. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 55365. pp. 59–60. 4 January 1999. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  8. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 57168. p. 128. 6 January 2004. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  9. ^ "New Station Commander at RAF Honington". 24 February 2009. RAF Honington. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "SENIOR ROYAL AIR FORCE APPOINTMENTS" (pdf). Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Trading places" (pdf). Royal Air Force News. 26 April 2013. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  13. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 53893. pp. 7–8. 30 December 1994. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  14. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59090. p. 6. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Queen's birthday honours list: Military". The Guardian. 13 June 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  16. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 58509. p. 16428. 13 November 2007. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
Military offices
Preceded by
Steven Abbott
Commandant-General of the RAF Regiment
Succeeded by
Nick Bray